Beginning October 20, the Supreme Court will have physical hearings on Wednesdays and Thursdays, while concurrent hearings will be held on Tuesdays and Fridays. In light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, a Calcutta High Court bench led by Acting Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal and Justice Rajarshi Bharadwaj ordered that all Durga Puja Pandals be designated as no-entry zones for members of the public.
The current appeal was filed in the public interest, requesting that the State Authorities make adequate measures to ensure that there is no big gathering during the Puja celebration at various locations. The learned counsel further pointed to the specific directions issued by this Court in WPA 8520 of 2020 on October 19, 2020, and October 21, 2020. The proposal was that the same procedures be followed this year as well. The major goal of this Plea was to keep the throng in control at the Durga Puja Pandal while adhering to the Covid Safeguards.
The court ordered the state to follow the previous year's Durga Puja rules, which included detailed instructions on maintaining Covid procedure during the festivities. The Court had previously stated that if pandals are made no-entry zones and a certain distance from all sides of the pandals is covered as a no-entry zone, the general public will be aware that there will be no access within the pandals or even close to the same, and their desire to take to the streets will be reduced. As a result, the Petition was rejected.