Calcutta HC Allows Big Puja Pandals to List 60 People for Entry
Bigger pandals will be allowed to have 60 people inside. However, at a time only 45 people will be allowed.
The Calcutta High Court on Wednesday, 21 October, partially relaxed its earlier order on the number of people allowed inside Durga Puja pandals in the state.
Earlier the court had declared that all pandals will be 'no entry zones' and no outside visitors will be allowed inside. Only 25 people, based on a pre-determined, fixed list, were allowed inside pandals.
While the number of people allowed inside pandals has now been increased, all pandals are still 'no-entry zones'.
Hearing a review plea by the Forum For Durgotsav, the HC said that bigger pandals (over 300 square metres) will be allowed to have 60 people inside. However, at a time only 45 people will be allowed.
In the smaller pandals, 15 people will be allowed inside, with only 10 at a time.
A list of these 60 or 15 people have to made and displayed outside the pandal by 8 am everyday. The court had earlier said that this list had to be fixed and could not be changed everyday.
The court further said dhaakis will be allowed inside the pandal as long as they maintain social distancing, wear masks, and follow other COVID-19 norms.
The Calcutta High Court on Tuesday, 19 October, admitted the review plea by a forum of 400 top Durga Puja organisers in Kolkata who approached the court seeking a review of its order declaring puja pandals "no-entry zones" for visitors over the COVID-19 pandemic. The matter will be heard on Wednesday.
The organisers are part of the Forum for Durgotsav, which approached the HC ahead of the start of Durga Puja.
The Calcutta High Court on Monday had declared all Durga Pujo pandals in the state as no-entry zones. The court said that only organisers can enter the pandals, while adding that the names of people allowed to enter the pandals will be displayed outside it.
A maximum of 25 people were to be allowed inside a pandal and the number could not change. Additionally, the court asked all small pujo committees to set up barricades at a distance of five metres in case of small pandals and 10 metres for bigger pandals.
The high court’s order comes more than three weeks after the state government allowed visitors inside pandals, but made masks and sanitisers compulsory. In that order, the state government had banned cultural programmes and fairs, while making it compulsory to have separate entry and exit points to the pandal.
(With inputs from NDTV.)
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