calcutta high court

Calcutta High Court: In a writ petition challenging certain restrictions imposed on conducting processions and offering puja during Rash Utsab, a single-judge bench comprising of Jay Sengupta,* J., upheld some restrictions imposed on the Rash Utsab processions, modifying one related to the use of musical instruments. The petitioner agreed to comply with the conditions, and the case was disposed of.

In the instant petition, the petitioner challenged certain restrictions imposed on conducting processions and offering puja during Rash Utsab. The said restrictions include a ban on the use of musical instruments and limiting the number of participants in a procession for a particular puja to 3 to 5 persons.

The petitioner alleged that the local police administration, in collaboration with Nabadwip Central Rash Utsab Committee, is attempting to suppress the rights of common citizens in performing ‘Shobha Yatra’ during Rash Purnima. The petitioner contended that the restrictions, especially the ban on musical instruments, hinder essential religious practices during the ‘Shobha Yatra.’

The State denied the allegations and contended that restrictions are in place to maintain law and order during the international event. The State referred to the incidents from the previous year that led to FIR registrations, justifying the need for restrictions and attributed the restrictions to decisions made by the Rash Utsab Committee.

The Court observed and directed as follows:

  • Found the restriction on the number of participants in a procession (3 to 5 persons) reasonable and does not interfere with it.

  • Acknowledged the importance of using musical instruments in the ‘Shobha Yatra’ as an essential religious practice.

  • Modified the relevant restriction to allow the use of musical instruments provided the sound is within permissible limits.

  • Directed the petitioner to undertake not to cause any disturbance and agrees to follow all other norms in conducting the ‘Shobha Yatra.’

With the above-mentioned observations and directions, the Court disposed of the writ petition, and held that no further orders are deemed necessary.

[Subha Saha v. State of W.B., 2023 SCC OnLine Cal 4666, order dated 24-11-2023]

*Judgment by Justice Jay Sengupta

Advocates who appeared in this case :

Mr. Debanshu Ghorai, Mr. Dip Jyoti Chakraborty, Mr. Amit Halder. Mr. Shouryyadeep Saha and Mr. Rajdeep Adhikari, Counsel for the Petitioner

Mr. Ansar Mondal and Mr. Ashis Dutta, Counsel for the Respondent/State

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