calcutta high court

Calcutta High Court: In a writ petition revolving around seeking direction against respondent authorities to allow the petitioners to organise a religious jalsha, a single-judge bench comprising of Jay Sengupta,* J., disposed of the writ petition with granting permission for the religious program under specified conditions to ensure the safety and peace of the event.

In the instant matter, the petitioner sought a writ of direction against the respondent authorities, requesting permission to conduct a religious program scheduled for 17-10-2023, from 12 noon to 5 P.M., at the Eid Gaha of village Nelua, District- Nadia. The event is expected to have approximately 5,000 participants, excluding speakers. The petitioner claimed to have made a representation to the respondent authorities seeking permission, which went unanswered.

The petitioners contended that they were seeking permission for a religious jalsha and highlighted that the venue was owned by the Committee. It was contended that a request had been made to the respondent authorities but received no response.

The State, relying on a report, proposed conditions for granting permission, which included the requirement for fire-fighting arrangements, a ban on weapons and firecrackers, maintenance of communal harmony, obtaining a No Objection Certificate from the venue owner, and possibly installing CCTV cameras. The State also emphasized that if CCTV cameras were deemed necessary, the authorities themselves should undertake their installation.

The Court granted permission to the petitioners to hold the jalsha at the requested venue and time, subject to certain conditions. These conditions included:

  1. Fire-fighting arrangements must be in place.

  2. Prohibition on the use of weapons or firecrackers.

  3. Maintenance of communal harmony.

  4. Obtaining a No Objection Certificate from the venue owner.

  5. Possibility of installing CCTV cameras, if deemed necessary, by the authorities.

  6. The petitioners must inform the respondent authorities about the person responsible for conducting the program.

  7. Submission of a notarized affidavit confirming possession of the venue.

  8. Participants must not carry arms or firecrackers.

  9. Participants must refrain from making provocative speeches or hurting the religious sentiments of any community or sect.

  10. Adequate deployment of volunteers to manage the crowd.

Additionally, the Court directed the respondent authorities to issue a permission letter if necessary. The Court also tasked the respondent authorities with maintaining a vigilant presence at the event to ensure the preservation of peace. The Court directed that the adequate police personnel, including armed officers, are to be deployed to guarantee the peaceful conduct of the program.

Furthermore, the Court instructed the respondent authorities to prevent any harassment of participants, local residents, or passersby during the event.

[Nelua Jama Masjid Jalsha Committee v. State of W.B., 2023 SCC OnLine Cal 3428, order dated 06-10-2023]

*Judgment by Justice Jay Sengupta

Advocates who appeared in this case :

Mr. Samim Ahammed, Mr. Arka Maiti, Ms. Ambiya Khatun, Ms. Gulsanwara Pervin and Mr. Enamul Hoque, Counsel for the Petitioner

Mr. Asish Kumar Guha and Mr. Rajendra Chaturvedi, Counsel for the Respondent/State

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