The Andhra Pradesh High Court has upheld the state government’s ban on the public celebration of the Vinayaka Chaturthi festival. However, the High Court also directed the state government to permit the installation of Ganesh pandals on private premises.
The High Court, Wednesday, was hearing a petition challenging the state government’s orders placing curbs on the public celebration of the Ganesh festival on September 10 this year.
The directions were issued by justice Cheekati Manavendranath Roy on a writ petition filed by a resident of Autonagar in Andhra Pradesh’s Tirupati city. He approached the high court after his request to the district superintendent of police to install an idol in his house in the presence of five people was declined.
Citing the Covid pandemic, the state government headed by Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy had decided to bar public functions for the festival.
As per the orders issued recently by the state government, a ban was imposed on erecting Ganesh pandals in public places. The high court also said the government’s guidelines against public celebrations should not be violated.
The petitioner told the court that restrictions on celebrating Ganesh or Vinayaka Chaturthi were only for public places. After seeking a response from the state government as well, the court allowed him to install an idol at his residence on the condition that Covid-19 guidelines are adhered to.
However, the government’s move has been vehemently opposed by opposition parties BJP and TDP. Over the past two days, the BJP has organized massive protests demanding that public festivities be allowed for Ganesh Chaturthi with celebrations lasting from three to twenty-one days.
Noting that Article 26 gives people the right to manage their religious activities, the High Court has directed the state to permit Ganesh pandals in private premises. Not more than five devotees can perform puja at any given time in such pandals. Covid norms must be duly followed in these places, the Court said.
(With IANS inputs)