25 Sep 2023 8:40 AM GMT
The Calcutta High Court today dismissed a PIL filed by the Sonarpur Uttar Vidhan Sabha Saradutsab Committee, seeking the Court’s permission to construct a Durga Puja pandal and organise Durga Puja celebrations from 19th-25th October, near 45 A/B Bus Stand. Petitioners submitted that as declared by the High Court, Durga Puja is an inclusive festival celebrated by all across Bengal but,...
The Calcutta High Court today dismissed a PIL filed by the Sonarpur Uttar Vidhan Sabha Saradutsab Committee, seeking the Court’s permission to construct a Durga Puja pandal and organise Durga Puja celebrations from 19th-25th October, near 45 A/B Bus Stand.
Petitioners submitted that as declared by the High Court, Durga Puja is an inclusive festival celebrated by all across Bengal but, they alleged that the Municipal and police authorities are denying permission to all those not affiliated to the ruling dispensation.
In noting that the petitioner’s prayers were not sustainable as a PIL, and that the State had opened a comprehensive portal for granting Durga puja permissions, a bench of Chief Justice TS Sivagnanam and Justice Hiranmay Bhattacharya held:
“This writ petition is not maintainable as a PIL…if an individual or group seeks to hold puja, they have to contact the appropriate authorities for consideration, by way of an application. If permission is granted, responsibility has to be affixed to whom permission has been granted. State has submitted that to obtain permission, application has to be made online through a dedicated portal, which has opened today. Thus, no directions are required to be issued, and the petitioners may seek permission by making applications through the portal.”
Petitioners submitted that they were a “committee” who had intended to organise Durga puja but, were not being granted permission to do the same by the local municipal and police authorities.
It was argued that those opposed to the ruling dispensation who had been intending to organise Durga puja while not being earlier registered with the police authorities were not being given the requisite permissions.
Petitioner submitted that he was not seeking the Rs 70,000 grant which had been announced for all Puja Clubs in the State, but merely the right to organise a Durga puja celebration.
“Why not? If they are giving funds, why not accept it?” the Bench asked on a lighter note.
Respondent-authorities argued that such an application would not lie before the Court under its PIL jurisdiction, and that in any case, the State had recently launched a comprehensive portal through which Durga puja permission could be obtained online.
It was argued that the petitioner was an unregistered society, without fixed accountability, and that the area chosen is prone to traffic jams and overcrowding.
Accordingly, in noting that the petitioner had other avenues to attain the reliefs as prayed for, and holding that the PIL was not maintainable, the plea was dismissed with liberty to the petitioners to approach the appropriate authorities.
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Cal) 293
Case: Suman Dutta And Ors Vs State Of West Bengal And Ors.
Case No: WPA(P)/513/2023