HC dismisses plea against ban on Chhath Puja on Yamuna banks in Delhi

Court refused to interfere in the ban after the government argued the Covid-era ban was imposed to prevent water pollution
HC dismisses plea against ban on Chhath Puja on Yamuna banks in Delhi

The Delhi High Court today refused to interfere in the ban on celebrating Chhath Puja on the banks of the Yamuna in the national capital imposed during Covid times, noting that it has been imposed to prevent pollution of the river.

“The counsel for the petitioner seeks permission to withdraw. Dismissed as withdrawn,” Justice Subramanian Prasad ordered.

Two organizations, Chhath Pooja Sangharsh Samiti and the Purwanchal Jagriti Manch, had approached the high court challenging an order by Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) dated Oct 29, 2021, which banned the celebration of Chhath Pooja in public places, including public grounds, river banks, and temples, during Covid time.

As per the government counsel, the ban was imposed due to water pollution caused on the banks of Yamuna.

The organizations argued that the Delhi government's order violated the fundamental rights of the people in the national capital as it is being a "religious festival and practice" that falls under constitutional rights.

"Respondent no 1 (Delhi government) notified the aforesaid notification during the Covid-19 period without any power… It is further submitted that respondent no.1 has not mentioned proper law/rules which entitles them to restrain the worship of 30-40 lakh of the devotees," it argued.

During the hearing, Advocate Vinay Dubey, who appeared for the organisations, said that neighboring states such as Haryana and Uttar Pradesh are celebrating the festival on the banks of rivers, while the DDMA is restraining residents of Delhi.

In 2021, the high court had refused to entertain a similar plea after finding no merit in the petition.

Chhath puja is celebrated on the sixth day after Diwali and is also known as Surya Sashthi as it is dedicated to the Sun God. It is one of the most popular festivals in eastern Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

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