Delhi HC junks plea against Chhath Puja ban, puts right to health first

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday refused to entertain a plea which had challenged the Delhi government’s decision of banning Chhath Puja celebrations at public places like ponds and riverbanks in the city due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

While dismissing the plea, a bench 0f Justice Hima Kohli and Justice Subramonium Prasad, remarked that “it appears the petitioner is not alive to Covid-19 situation in Delhi” and “any such permission if granted would necessarily result in such function turning into a super spreader”.

“The right to health must be respected first. The person has to live to be able to practice any religion,” the bench while hearing a plea by Durga Jan Seva Trust, challenging the November 10 order of chairman of Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) to not allow any gathering in public places for Chhath Puja on November 20.

The petition had also sought permission to hold a gathering of 1,000 people for Chhath Puja.

However, this did not go down well with the court which remarked, “Oh really! Today when the Delhi government is not allowing marriages with over 50 persons, you want only 1,000 persons.” It said that the authorities have passed the order after considering the spread of infection in Delhi and the petition was meritless.

“In today’s day and time, such a petition is belied by the ground reality,” the court said while noting that the petitioner should have taken into consideration the current circumstances in the city.

“The infection rate is hovering between 7,800 to 8,593… the death rate is in double figures. There are 42,000 active cases,” it noted.

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