Following Monday’s historic decision on this year’s Durga Puja, the Calcutta High Court on Wednesday slightly tweaked its earlier order to increase the number of people to be allowed inside the pandals.
Declaring all the pandals as ‘no-entry zones’, the High Court bench of Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Arijit Banerjee had ordered that 25 members in big-ticket Durga Pujas and 15 in smaller ones be allowed inside the pandals.
The court on Wednesday, while hearing a petition filed by a Fourm of Durga Puja organisers, increased the numbers to 60 for big pujas and 45 for the smaller ones. Further, the dhakis have been allowed inside the pandals.
On Monday, the court had said that the list of 25 and 15 members cannot be changed once it has been made. As per the new order, though, the puja organisers would be able to bring in new faces everyday, given they don’t increase the total number to 60 and 45.
The court also clarified the parameters to decide which will be the big and small pujas. According to Wednesday’s order, any pandal taking an area of more than 300 square metres will be declared big puja.
Also, the High Court division bench has now provided the Puja committees a greater sense of freedom in the selection of the members who would be allowed to venture inside the no-entry zones.
The forum, meanwhile, had also pleaded to the court to allow locals on Saptami, Ashtami and Navami for them to perform the rites, especially Ashtami’s Anjali. These three are considered the most important puja days. The court refused to allow it.
However, the Pujo organisers believe that a few locals would be able to go inside since the court did not set any guidelines or specifications for the organisers on how to select the members.
The HC had directed puja committees that all pandals will have to erect barricades at the entrance of the pandals and the distance is five meters for small pandals and 10 meters for big pandals. No chance was brought in this regard.
On Monday, the court had also asked the puja committees to submit a plan on crowd management as the court said there are not enough policemen in Kolkata to manage the crowds in 3000 plus puja pandals in the city.