Stop songs and dances sans rituals during festivals in public places: HC

Mumbai: Songs and dances instead of rituals during festivals in public places should be stopped, the Bombay High Court said today while refusing permission to a cultural organisation to hold Chhat Puja on suburban Juhu beach.

The organisation 'Mann Ranglo' approached the HC after the Collector refused permission to it to hold Chhat Puja on Juhu beach on the ground that it had violated noise pollution rules and other conditions laid down when permission was granted previously.

According to the petition, the organisation offers assistance to the devotees by providing them with water, toilet facility and place to stay during the puja which is falling next month.

The organisation also plays devotional songs through the night.

"Beaches and grounds are all public properties. Such festivals are held in these places for two days and they are defaced due to which people cannot use these for the next 10 days. We are not against any religion but we are requesting everyone to retain the purity and sanctity of the puja.

"Rituals have gone and celebrations in the form of songs and dance have taken over. Such kind of celebrations have to be stopped," a division bench headed by Justice S C Dharmadhikari said.

The court said that the public authority can take responsibility of providing facilities to the devotees.

The bench said it cannot interfere in a matter where the authorities are abiding by the rules and law laid down.

"There has been violation of the conditions and rules earlier which is why the Collector has refused permission this year," the court said.

Another petition was filed by former MP Sanjay Nirupam seeking modification of the Collector's order directing the organisers of Chhat Puja to not invite celebrities.

The court has directed the Collector to consider Nirupam's request and pass appropriate order by November 5.

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