There is this new law thing happening against Chhath Puja Celebration. The Delhi High Court just said no to a request asking if they can celebrate Chhath Puja by the Yamuna river in the city. The court said they banned it mainly because they’re worried about the river getting dirty.
Table of Contents
The Legal Battle Over Chhath Puja Celebration Restrictions
In their petition, Chhath Pooja Sangharsh Samiti and Purwanchal Jagriti Manch sought to challenge the Delhi Disaster Management Authority’s (DDMA) order issued in October 2021. The crux of their legal argument centered around the restrictions imposed by this order, specifically targeting the observance of Chhath Puja celebrations at public places and river banks in the city. The petitioners aimed to contest the validity and basis of the DDMA’s decision, emphasizing the lack of clear legal grounds for the Delhi government’s imposition of limitations on the worship practices of the sizable Chhath Puja devotee community, estimated to be between 30-40 lakh individuals.
The October 2021 DDMA order became a focal point of contention as it not only affected the religious practices of the people but also raised questions about the constitutional rights and freedoms of the residents of Delhi. The petitioners argued that the order, by restricting Chhath Puja celebrations, was in violation of the fundamental rights guaranteed to citizens. The case underscored the complex interplay between religious freedoms, environmental considerations, and governmental regulations, shaping a legal narrative that delved into the heart of community practices and public governance.
The petitioners argued that the DDMA’s order lacked clarity on the legal basis for the Delhi government’s decision to limit the worship of 30-40 lakh devotees. Despite the plea asserting that the order violated the fundamental rights of the city’s residents, the court indicated a tendency to dismiss the case.
Withdrawal of Plea
In response to the court’s inclination, the petitioners opted to withdraw their plea. Chhath Puja is this cool four-day festival where people worship the Sun God. They usually celebrate it in places like Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, and Jharkhand. This year, the festival spans from November 17 to November 20, involving rituals such as holy bathing, fasting, standing in water, and making offerings to the sun.
The DDMA order, issued during the Covid period, specified that Chhath Puja celebrations were only permitted at designated sites with the necessary approval from the district magistrate. The Delhi government’s counsel stated that alternative arrangements, including separate ponds, had been provided for people to perform Chhath Puja. However, the petitioners contended that neighboring states like Haryana and Uttar Pradesh allowed the festival to be celebrated on the Yamuna’s banks.
Key Concerns: Unraveling the Legal Debate
The heart of the matter lies in the contention that the Delhi Disaster Management Authority’s (DDMA) order, as challenged by the petitioners, lacked a solid legal foundation. The argument pivoted on the assertion that the order infringed upon the fundamental rights of Delhi’s residents. By restricting Chhath Puja celebrations at public places and river banks without clear legal justification, the DDMA order became the focal point of a legal battle, questioning the balance between government regulations and individual religious freedoms.
Persisting Issues: Religious Freedom, Environment, and Governance
Despite the withdrawal of the plea, the issues raised by the Chhath Pooja Sangharsh Samiti and Purwanchal Jagriti Manch persist and continue to fuel discussions. The overarching concerns delve into the delicate interplay between religious freedom and environmental conservation. While the Delhi government argued for alternative arrangements and the creation of separate ponds for Chhath Puja, the contention over why neighboring states allowed celebrations on the Yamuna’s banks remains a subject of debate. This case highlights the broader challenge of striking a harmonious balance between upholding religious traditions, ensuring environmental protection, and implementing effective governance. As the legal landscape evolves, the Chhath Puja dispute serves as a lens through which the complex interconnections of law, tradition, and environmental stewardship come into focus.