Calcutta HC allows 45 people in pandals at a time
The Calcutta High Court on Wednesday partly modified its order on community Durga Pujas, allowing drummers to perform within the no-entry zones and raising the number of people who can be present inside the marquees at a time for big pujas from 25 to 45.
Hearing an appeal submitted by Forum for Durgotsab, a division bench of the high court comprising Justices Sanjib Banerjee and Arijit Banerjee, retained its earlier order declaring all Durga Puja marquees no-entry zones and erecting barricades in front of the pandals to prevent visitors from entering inside in view of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Counsel for the forum submitted before the court that Durga Puja is the biggest festival of the Bengalis and a lot of emotions are attached to it. They appealed that the number of people who can enter the marquees be increased for offering "anjali" and also during "sandhi puja".
The bench ordered that the number of people who can stay inside the marquees be increased from 25 to 45 for big Pujas but retained it at 15 for the small ones.
The 'dhakis' (drummers), an integral part of the celebrations, were allowed to stay within the no-entry zones of the marquees but they will have to maintain all safety and hygiene protocols.
A list of 60 people who can stay inside the pandals for big pujas will have to be put up daily, the court said.
The court also said a maximum of 45 people can be present inside the marquees at a time.
For small Pujas, the maximum number of people who can stay inside the pandals at a time is 15, the court said.
The court had on Monday declared all pandals across Bengal as no-entry zones to prevent the surge of Covid-19 cases in the state.
The division bench had also ordered that no visitors would be allowed to enter the marquees.