Cap On Idol Height: Balu Bazaar Puja Committee Files Writ In Orissa High Court

Cuttack: The Balu Bazaar Puja Committee here today filed a writ petition in the Orissa High Court challenging the notification of the State government to restrict the height of Durga idols within four feet in view of the prevailing Covid-19 situation.

The Committee has prayed to the High Court citing that the tradition of its worship of Goddess Durga in the clay idol form dates back to the year 1514 and the latter may allow maintaining the tradition.

The Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) and the Chief Secretary have been named as respondents in the petition.

“We started worshipping clay idol of Goddess Durga in the year 1514. At that time too the height of the idol was 8 feet,” informed Suryakant Sangneria, an office-bearer of Balu Bazaar.

Sangneria said, keeping that in mind, the ornaments, embellishments etc of the Goddess have been prepared accordingly. The Goddess is worshipped as Rajrajeshwari, he added.

“The Mother’s idol dressed in saree and decked up in ornaments of gold and silver fulfils the wishes of her devotees,” Sangneria claimed.

He said all had hoped that the government will consider the grievance of the Puja Committees and Shanti Committees of the city but it did not happen.

‘But I knew in my heart that this government is a government of bureaucrats which will never accept. Just four months back when Corona was at its peak in the second wave there was no restriction on the height of the idol and we had celebrated Basanti Durga puja with an 8 feet idol. And this too we will do. I have faith in the Goddess she will grant our wishes through the judges,” Sangneria claimed.

He further informed that the Chief Secretary and the Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) have been made parties in the case.

It is pertinent to mention here that Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) PK Jena on Friday reiterated the State government’s decision of August 9 to restrict the height of Durga idols within four feet in view of the prevailing Covid-19 situation and in the interest of public health.

Earlier on Wednesday, a delegation of puja committees had met Chief Secretary Suresh Chandra Mahapatra and SRC PK Jena at Lok Seva Bhawan in Bhubaneswar over the demands.

Unhappy with the State government’s decision, many Durga Puja committees of Cuttack have decided to approach Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to seek relaxation on Durga idol height restriction.

The committees unanimously decided that they will make an appeal to the Chief Minister by September 16 to reconsider the decision on the height of Durga idols.

Meanwhile, the BJP on Monday observed a Cuttack bandh to register its protest against the government decision to stick to its earlier announced decision on the height of idols and other restrictions on celebrations.

What is worth mentioning here is that last year also the Balu Bazaar Puja Committee had filed a petition in the High Court over the issue of idol height. The High Court had then allowed seven puja committees of the city including the Balu Bazaar Puja Committee to maintain the normal height of the idol while asking all other puja committees to worship idols of not more than 4 feet in height.



Suryakant Sangneria, Office-bearer of Balu Bazaar Puja Committee