It also chides the state government for pampering and appeasing the minority section of the public at the cost of the majority section, without there being any plausible justification.
“Do not pit one community against another”, this is what Calcutta High Court told the Government of West Bengal led by Mamta Banerjee while hearing petitions challenging restriction imposed on immersion of Durga idols beyond 4 pm on Bijoya Dashami. The court also held that devotees were entitled to immerse Durga idols in the evening of Bijoya Dashami and such immersion must be completed by 8.30 pm.
Justice Dipankar Datta also observed that there has been a clear endeavour on the part of the state government to pamper and appease the minority section of the public at the cost of the majority section, without there being any plausible justification. “The state government has been irresponsibly brazen in its conduct of being partial to one community, thereby infringing upon the fundamental rights of people worshipping Maa Durga,” the court said.
The court further observed: “The state government must realize that it would be dangerous to mix politics with religion. We, the people of India boast of being a secular nation but actions of some state governments are in deviation of the constitutional norms and principles. No decision ought to be taken that would have the potential of pitting one community against another. We are living in difficult times. Intolerance would rise in the event of such arbitrary decision of the state government being put in place and enforced.”
Expressing surprise over the fact that no decision has been taken by the state government in accordance with its rules of business or any other law for the time being in force, on paper, prohibiting immersion of Durga idols beyond 4 pm on Bijoya Dashami, the court observed that such a practice is not permissible and a decision not on paper cannot be enforced in any manner whatsoever. The court added: “Someone has to take responsibility for such decision. Even if a high constitutional functionary duly empowered proposes to take a decision affecting rights of subjects, he cannot escape the rigours of reducing such decision in writing and signing it. If such constitutional functionary perceives that he is not bound to follow such procedure that would amount to subverting the rule of law and indeed a very sad day for the State. Should a constitutional functionary take a decision and seek to enforce it without putting it on paper, there is no existence of a decision at all. Question of enforcement of such non-existent decision does not arise at all.”
Read the Judgment here.