The Orissa High Court on Friday rejected a petition filed by Cuttack’s Balu Bazar Puja Committee seeking withdrawal of the cap imposed by the Odisha government on the height of Durga idols for the upcoming festive season.
The oldest Puja committee of the Millennium city had moved the High Court after the State government in its’ September Covid-1 guidelines imposed several restrictions during the festive season that included restricting the height of Durga idols to 4 ft. Advancing reason later, government officials had stated that small idols would result in subdued celebrations at Pandals and reduce crowding during immersions.
However, the High Court preferred not to interfere in the government order issued for larger public health and safety to check any further spread of Covid 19 virus during the pandemic times.
It is pertinent to mention here that the Balu Bazar Puja committee had approached the State’s top court seeking direction to the government in allowing the continuance of Durga Puja celebrations as per traditions, including keeping the height of the idol to 5 ft 2 inches. Also various other organisations joined the bandwagon to protest against the Odisha government’s decision for a cap on the height of idols in the upcoming festive season.
The committee had claimed that the restrictions imposed by the State government were unwarranted and it amounts to interference in the traditional practice of worshipping of the deity which has been continuing for over 500 years. The Committee said the tradition has been continuing since the visit of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to Cuttack and consecration of the idol in 1512 without a break.
Nevertheless, the Court’s verdict has come as a setback for several Puja committees in Cuttack who had hoped for some relaxations in the conduct of the Durga Puja this year on account of the declining infection trend.