A day after the West Bengal government lifted the night restrictions during the Durga Puja festival, the Calcutta High Court said that Puja pandals will have to be treated as ‘containment zones’ and visitors will not be allowed to enter inside them.
The same will be applied for the Kali Puja also, which comes around 20 days after the Durga Puja.
Passing an order on a PIL filed by Howrah resident Ajay Kumar Dey pledging to impose last year’s restrictions during the Durga Puja to contain the spread of Covid-19, the division bench of Acting Chief Justice Rajesh Kumar Bindal said the visitors will not be allowed inside the Durga Puja pandals in West Bengal this year as well. He also said all the restrictions imposed by the court last year will remain the same.
The Advocate General, who appeared for the state, said the state government has no objections if the court imposes these kinds of restrictions for the greater benefit of the people.
Last year the division bench of the high court comprising Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Arijit Banerjee, hearing a public interest litigation filed by the same person, said that no visitors would be allowed to enter the marquees.
For small pandals, barricades will have to be put up five metres from the entrance, while for the bigger ones, the distance has to be 10 metres, the court had ordered.
There should be no-entry boards at the barricades, it had said.
The court also had ordered that only 15 to 25 persons belonging to the organising committees will be allowed to enter the pandals.
The court had also said that the organisers will have to distribute masks and sanitisers to the visitors, do awareness campaigns and make continuous announcements so that the people get aware of the impending threat of the disease.
This year all these restrictions will remain active during the Durga Puja and Kali Puja celebration.