Ganesh Chaturthi involves large congregations, can’t be allowed in Maha: SC

Supreme Court of India

New Delhi (NVI): The Supreme Court today said that it is not inclined to permit festivities during Ganpati festival in Maharashtra this year as the crowd becomes uncontrollable.

Citing the pandemic, a bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde maintained that Ganesh Chaturthi festivities, by their very nature, involve large crowds.

“We are not inclined to allow Ganapati festivals since that is completely uncontrollable,” remarked the CJI.

The court was hearing a matter related to opening of certain Jain temples in Mumbai for Paryushan — the annual purification rituals for the community.

In this regard, the apex court allowed limited entry of devotees to three Jain temples in Mumbai’s Dadar, Chembur and Byculla on August 22 and 23 to offer prayers on the occasion of Paryushan festival.

The bench said that entry into temples will be subject to the undertaking given by the petitioner – a trust dedicated to Jain community – as per which they agreed to allow only five people at a time inside the temple with an upper limit of 250 people per day.

“We are of the view that if the undertaking of faithfully complied with, it would not be hazardous to permit prayers at the three temples,” the bench added.

It cited the example of allowing Odisha Rath Yatra and said, “This is exactly the choice we had with Odisha Rath Yatra. We believe that if we can ensure that distancing is maintained and people do not gather then merely putting the Rath is not damaging.”

The court also made it clear that its order will not apply to any other temples or festivals involving large congregation.

“We are referring in particular to the congregation that happens during Ganesh Chaturthi in Mumbai and other places,” the court noted.