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Home / India / SC disallows Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations on Idgah Maidan

SC disallows Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations on Idgah Maidan

Order passed by special bench following a plea for urgent hearing by petitioners on ground that failure to reach a swift resolution could lead to communal tension
Policemen deployed at the Chamarajpet ground  (Idgah Maidan) in Bangalore after the Supreme Court’s interim order to maintain status quo.
Policemen deployed at the Chamarajpet ground (Idgah Maidan) in Bangalore after the Supreme Court’s interim order to maintain status quo.
PTI picture

R. Balaji   |   New Delhi   |   Published 31.08.22, 03:43 AM

The Supreme Court on Tuesday evening held a special hearing to reverse the Karnataka BJP government’s decision to allow Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations on an Idgah Maidan in Bangalore’s Chamarajpet where only Id and Ramzan-related rituals have been held for 200 years.

The Supreme Court told the Karnataka government that the Ganesh Chaturthi festivities could be held on Wednesday in some other location instead of Idgah Maidan.

“According to them (the petitioners), for 200 years, it (Ganesh Chaturthi festivities) was not done, you (state government) also admit, so why not maintain status quo? For 200 years whatever was not held, let it be like that,” the court orally observed while passing the written order asking the parties — the Muslim side and the Karnataka government — to maintain “status quo”.

During the hearing that concluded at 6.15pm, well past the Supreme Court’s usual working hours, a three-judge bench headed by Justice Indira Banerjee asked the parties to approach Karnataka High Court for the resolution of the dispute.

The three-judge bench of Justices Banerjee, Abhay S. Oka and M.M. Sundresh was constituted after Chief Justice of India U.U. Lalit accepted a request and returned to court to set it up after an earlier two-judge bench failed to reach a consensus.

The special leave petitions had been filed by the Central Muslim Association of Karnataka and the State Wakf Board opposing the conduct of Ganesh Chaturthi festivities on Wednesday on the ground, a wakf property.

The petitions had been filed to challenge a Karnataka High Court division bench order that had permitted the state government and the Bangalore municipal corporation to use Idgah Maidan for Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations.

The order was passed by the special bench following a plea for urgent hearing by the petitioners on the ground that failure to reach a swift resolution could lead to communal tension in the state.

The bench was constituted by Chief Justice Lalit against the backdrop of difference of opinion between Justices Hemant Gupta and Sudhanshu Dhulia who formed an earlier bench hearing the matter.

While the petitioners were represented by senior advocates Dushyant Dave, Kapil Sibal and Huzefa Ahmadi, the Karnataka government was represented by senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi and solicitor-general Tushar Mehta.

Owing to the difference of opinion, Justice Gupta, heading the bench, referred the matter to the CJI for the formation of a different bench.

Around 4pm when the CJI’s court was about to rise, Sibal and Dave requested an urgent hearing by a special bench as the festivities would otherwise commence on Wednesday.

CJI Lalit came back to the court after a few minutes and passed the order constituting the three-judge bench. Normally the Supreme Court sits till 4pm.

The two petitioners had challenged an August 26 order of a Karnataka High Court division bench that had permitted the state government and the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara to use the Idgah Maidan for the Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations.

The division bench had passed the order while modifying a single-judge bench’s direction that had on August 25 taken the view that the land could be used only for Independence Day and Republic Day events besides the Ramzan and Bakri Id rituals.



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