The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the Calcutta High Court’s decision to not allow Chhath Puja in Kolkata’s Rabindra Sarobar and Shubash Sarovar.
Challenging the High Court judgement, the Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority (KMDA) had moved the apex court.
Last week, the Calcutta High Court had reiterated an order by the National Green Tribunal in 2018 banning Chath Puja in closed water bodies such as the Rabindra Sarobar and Shubhash Sarovar.
“As far as Subhas Sarobar and Rabindra Sarobar are concerned… these water bodies will be totally out of bounds for Chhath Puja celebrations,” ruled the division bench of Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Arijit Banerjee on November 10, reported The Telegraph.
Not only Chhath Puja, the Green Tribunal has banned all kinds of pujas, picnics and other social events in the Sarobar premises to keep its ecology free from pollution.
Rabindra Sarobar, known as ‘lake’ to the loclas, is home to three species of turtles, 30 species of dragonflies and snakes, 60 species of butterflies and different kinds of birds.
Meanwhile, the Green Tribunal’s order was grossly violated in 2018 and 2019 when scores of devotees had broken the gates of Rabindra Sarobar and performed Chhath Puja rituals with loud music and firecrackers.
To ensure a similar situation doesn’t repeat, environment activist Subhash Dutta had moved a petition in the High Court demanding protection for the water bodies.
KMDA, on the other hand, had appealed to Green Tribunal to allow Chhath Puja celebrations with guidelines. However, the Tribunal had rejected the plea seeking permission to facilitate Chhath Puja at the eco-sensitive Rabindra Sarobar.
The Supreme Court did not give a fresh order and said it had nothing to add to the judgement already produced in the Calcutta High Court.
The opposition parties, especially BJP, has condemned the ruling TMC for their inability to arrange for the Chhath Puja celebrations. The saffron party has also accused TMC of using the festivity to gain political advantage.
“The NGT had asked the government to find alternative places to hold Chhath puja. Instead of doing that it is trying to violate a court order. We condemn this effort of the government to play politics of polarisation. As elections are approaching, the TMC wants to keep non-Bengalis in good humour for its vote bank politics,” Indian Express quoted BJP leader Shamik Bhattacharya as saying.