The Orissa High Court on Monday allowed nine puja pandals, which had constructed idols taller than the stipulated height, to perform the puja under the COVID-19 guidelines. The state government had imposed certain restrictions on puja celebrations including curbing the height of the idols to only four feet.
Following a status report submitted by Advocate General Ashok Parija which had mentioned that at least nine pandals in Cuttack city had constructed their idols taller than the stipulated height, a Division Bench headed by Chief Justice Mohammad Rafiq allowed these nine pandals to go ahead with the puja. The HC, however, made it clear that this relief should not be cited as a precedent by any other mandaps.
As per the COVID-19 guidelines issued by the state government, the puja committees will not be allowed to participate in the immersion festival and the immersion of the deities will be performed under the supervision of the local police administration. The pandals will be covered on three sides and there would be a barricade on the fourth side restricting the devotees to the pandals, the government notification had mentioned.
On the reservation of the Commissionerate police regarding immersion of deities built taller than four feet, the High Court settled the issue directing the administration to also take charge of immersion of those nine pandals, which have defied the height stipulation.