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[Chhatth Pooja] Supreme Court Issues Notice In Plea Requesting Permission Of Rituals On Rabindra Sarovar

Sanya Talwar
2 Nov 2020 12:01 PM GMT
[Chhatth Pooja] Supreme Court Issues Notice In Plea Requesting Permission Of Rituals On Rabindra Sarovar
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The Supreme Court on Monday issued notice in a plea by Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority (KMDA) requesting permission for performing Chhath Puja at Rabindra Sarobar.A bench comprising Justices RF Nariman, Navin Chawla & Krishna Murari heard the plea which challenged the National Green Tribunal's order rejecting permission on September 17, thereby upholding its previous order...

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The Supreme Court on Monday issued notice in a plea by Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority (KMDA) requesting permission for performing Chhath Puja at Rabindra Sarobar.

A bench comprising Justices RF Nariman, Navin Chawla & Krishna Murari heard the plea which challenged the National Green Tribunal's order rejecting permission on September 17, thereby upholding its previous order banning performance of any ritual at the water body.

Senior Advocate Rakesh Dwivedi told the court that the petition was regarding a balance between religious rights and saving the environment. He sought permission from the court to perform Chatth Pooja on November 20 with conditions.

Dwivedi said, "In terms of its own order, the Tribunal had allowed performing of the Chhath Pooja on Rabindra Sarobar in 2017 subject to 15 conditions. Unfortunately, the ban was effectuated again in terms of a newspaper report, without looking at the videography".

When the bench said that it shall issue notice and post the matter with a similar plea on November 16, Dwivedi sought interim orders for performing the rituals, stating that the same can be allowed basis the earlier conditions.

"By the time, it will be too late. Arrangements etc. have to be made," he said.

However, the bench proceeded to post the case on November 16.

An NGT order dated November 15, 2017 had banned all festivities in and around Rabindra Sarovar, allowing it only for that year.

The NGT (Eastern Zone) had, inter alia, strictly prohibited night time matches/tournaments in the Rabindra Sarobar Stadium & Performance of any Puja, community picnic or organisation of other social events in and around the Rabindra Sarobar Lake. Further new construction or extension of existing building without the leave of the Tribunal was also prohibited.

However, the order was completely violated during the Chhat celebrations of 2018 when over 40,000 people entered the Lake and offered puja.

On October 14, 2019 the NGT directed the government of West Bengal to ensure that there was no violation of its 2017 order banning any ritual for Chhat puja or other religious festivals at the site.

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