Calcutta HC makes minor modifications to its order but Puja pandals to remain no entry zones

Division Bench allows a higher number of organisers to enter the Durga Puja pandals

Calcutta High Court on Wednesday made minor modifications to its order passed on Monday by allowing a higher number of organisers to enter the Durga Puja pandals but maintained that pandals will remain no entry zone and visitors will not be allowed inside.

Hearing a review petition filed by Forum of Durgotsav, a group of Durga Puja clubs, a Division Bench of Justices Sanjib Banerjee and Arijit Banerjee said that ‘dhakis’ (traditional drummers) may be permitted, not within the pandal area but in the no entry zone outside. ‘Dhakis’ will have to wear masks and maintain physical distancing norms, the court said.

For smaller Durga Puja pandals whose area is less than 300 sq metres instead of 15 organisers the chart prepared by the respective committee can include 30 names and for bigger ones the chart can include 60 names. The number stated in the order on Monday was 15 for smaller pandals and 25 for bigger ones.

The court added that charts with the name of organisers or locals who will be allowed inside the pandals should be hung up by 8 a.m. every day and all the people should not be present inside the pandal at one time. For bigger Durga Pujas 45 persons can be present inside the pandal and for smaller Durga Pujas 25 people can be present at one time.

The Court granted no other relief that will have the effect of diluting its earlier order including allowing ‘Sindur Khela’ (a ritual practised by women on Vijaydashmi before the immersion of idols).

The Bench on Monday declared all community Durga Puja pandals in West Bengal as no entry zones and said that visitors would not be allowed in the pandals because of the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic.


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