HC refuses permission to body for Chhath Puja at Juhu beach
Bombay High Court refused to grant permission to a cultural organization to hold ‘Chhath Puja’ celebrations at Juhu beach
Mumbai: Observing that conditions had been violated earlier, the Bombay High Court today refused to grant permission to a cultural organization to hold ‘Chhath Puja’ celebrations at Juhu beach on November 8.
“We would not like to interfere with the order of the Collector (of Mumbai) refusing permission to ‘Maan Ranglo’ a cultural organization, to organize the ‘Chhath Puja’, said Justices R D Dhanuka and Gautam Patel.
“No religion demands violation of High Court conditions,” said the bench while dismissing a petition filed by the organisation challenging the order of the Collector refusing to give permission.
The judges upheld the order of the collector saying he was right in refusing permission as the organization had violated conditions every year since 2008 because of which it had to forfeit its security deposit every time.
However, the judges asked the organization to apply to the collector next year for permission to hold ‘Chhath Puja’ at Juhu beach, if it so desired. The bench also asked the latter to consider its plea on merits after imposing additional safeguards to ensure that violations do not occur.
One of the conditions violated by the petitioner last year was the construction of a huge stage of 35 by 30 feet for which no permission had been taken, observed the court.
The court also noted that three other organizations, namely, Bihari Front, Shri Ganesh Nehru Nagar Rahvasi Sangh and Chhat Utsav Mahasangh, had been given permission by the authorities to hold the ‘Chhath Puja’ celebrations at Juhu beach as they had not violated any conditions earlier.
These organizations had also been refunded their security deposit as they had abided by all the conditions, Additional Government Pleader G W Mattos told the bench.
The High Court, in 2006, while hearing a petition seeking permission to hold Chhath Puja at Juhu beach, had imposed certain conditions. However, some of these conditions were violated by certain bodies and a contempt petition was filed in the same court.
The court thereafter imposed additional conditions in 2008 and also laid down a precondition of giving Rs one lakh security deposit.
Counsel for the petitioner, Anjani Kumar Singh, assured that the organization would abide by all conditions imposed by the court. He said it was a public function in which five lakh people converge at Juhu beach for taking part in Chhath Puja.
The judges, however, opined that in previous years the petitioner had committed violation of the conditions imposed by the collector as well as the High Court.
“Even the counsel for the petitioner is not in a position to dispute these violations. The only justification he has given is that the unauthorized construction (stage) was put up by them for the benefit of public,” said the judges.
“We are not commenting on their credentials. In our view, the petitioner has committed violations of conditions imposed by the Collector and the High Court,” the judges said.
The court, however, noted that if the members of the petitioner want to celebrate the Chhath Puja at Juhu beach, they can still participate in the festivities to be held by other organizations that have been granted permission.