Cap On Idol Height: Orissa HC Rejects Balu Bazaar Puja Committee’s Petition

Cuttack: The Orissa High Court on Friday rejected the writ petition by the Balu Bazaar Puja Committee 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 Court refused to interfere with August 9 guidelines on festivals where the restrictions have been imposed to keep the height of the Durga idols within four feet and conduct in-door like puja in different pandals across the State.

The division bench of Chief Justice S Muralidhar and Justice BP Routray on Thursday closed the hearing on the petition after listening to the arguments of senior advocate Pitambar Acharya, who appeared on behalf of the puja committee, and submissions of State counsel DK Mohanty.

The Committee had 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 had been named as respondents in the petition.

It 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.

Notably, the State Government has restricted the height of the idols to a maximum of 4 ft besides other restrictions and guidelines as precautionary measures to fight against the virulent and highly contagious Coronavirus.