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Idol Height Row Amid Covid Restrictions: HC Asks State To File Counter By Oct 7

Cuttack: Hearing the petitions filed by the aggrieved Puja Committees of this millennium city challenging the standing order of the State Government with regard to the restricted height of the idols of the deity during the ensuing puja celebrations amid the Covid pandemic, Orissa High Court (HC) today asked the State Government to file its counter on October 7.

The next date of hearing has been posted to October 9.

Briefing media, Balu Bazaar Puja Committee president and senior HC lawyer Suryakant Sangnaria informed, “Today the court heard our petition. Advocate General repeatedly argued that the issue is a statewide issue and appealed for time to file counter affidavit. The State Government has been allowed to file its counter affidavit on October 7 while the next date of hearing has been posted to October 9.”

In his media reactions, another HC lawyer Bibhuti Bhusan Choudhary said, “Today we had appeared for the Phiringi Bazaar and Upper Telenga Bazaar puja committees. Senior advocate Ashok Mohapatra was also with us. Our contention was that the CP hasn’t accepted our matter properly and we have been deprived of justice. Hon’ble High Court has seriously taken up our matter.”

He added, “The CP in his written document, submitted earlier, has clearly mentioned that 142 idols have not yet been made in the mandaps while 7 idols have been below 7 ft and 2 are above it. The court has granted protection to us all and has ruled that the CP will file further an affidavit before October 7. The State Government will also file a counter affidavit by the same date. Next date of hearing of this case has been fixed on October 9.”

Notably, the State Government in its standing order has restricted the height of the idols in the mandaps during the ensuing puja season due to the ongoing pandemic. The height of the idols has been limited to maximum 4 ft besides other restrictions and guidelines as precautionary measures to fight against the virulent and highly contagious Coronavirus.

Suryakant Sangnaria, President, Balu Bazaar Puja Committee

Bibhuti Bhusan Choudhary, Lawyer, Orissa High Court

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