On Thursday, the Calcutta High Court refused to lift the ban on the Chhat puja ceremony in Subhas Sarovar, a large waterfront east of the city. This step was taken due to COVID-19 pollution and security concerns. The court rejected a petition from the West Bengal government to lift the ban.
The state government had requested permission to use the Subhas Sarovar in Chhat Puja ceremonies saying that it is outside the jurisdiction of the National Green Tribunal (NGT). The order was challenged before the High Court. The NGT ordered that such rituals be banned in Rabindra Sarovar to prevent water pollution in southern Kolkata.
The trial bench was composed of Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Arijit Banerjee. They argued that the NGT ruling should apply equally to the latter, as the courts found no difference between Rabindra Sarovar and Subhas Sarovar.
The High Court rejected a request from the West Bengal government to amend the rules submitted on 10th November and ordered that the ban on Chahat puja in Subhas Sarobar will not be lifted.
The Supreme Court also praised the state for following the ban on firecrackers, at least in and around the large cities.
“There were, doubtless, disturbing pockets and the stray use of fireworks; but, by and large, it was a sound and smoke-free Kali Puja and Diwali that the city and its adjoining areas experienced,” the bench stated.
A couple of days ago, the Jharkhand government changed its order twice to finally allow Chhat Puja in the state. Similarly, in Assam, the government has not imposed any strict ban on the celebration of the puja.