CHENNAI: A division bench of the Madras High Court on Thursday asked the state government to consider whether the restrictions imposed against the public celebration of Vinayaka Chaturthi can be relaxed to safeguard the interests of artisans who make idols.
The two-member bench of justices MM Sundresh and R Hemalatha heard the plea of ELA Ganapathi, a resident of Tiruvallur, urging that the installation of idols and processions by the public during Vinayaka Chaturthi be allowed with social distancing norms in place.
The state advocate-general Vijay Narayan submitted that the state government in its press release said the installation of idols is prohibited. However, the bench said artisans have been working for several months to create the idols, while the pandemic situation would also have hit them hard.
"The state would have definitely received several representations from various quarters including the artisans, so relief has to be provided to them. We seek the state counsel to get instructions to
consider the plea made by the artisans," emphasized the bench.
The AG in reply accepted the submissions and sought that the plea be adjourned for Friday. The bench recording the reply adjourned the plea.
According to the petitioner, the government order allows the installation of Vinayaka idols at small temples, but totally bans it in public places. This is an arbitrary exercise of power without giving any importance to the conscience of its citizens.
"The state cannot completely ignore the conscience or religious beliefs or customs of its citizens simply because it is illogical," added the petitioner.