The Delhi High Court on Tuesday asked the police to ensure that no one uses stage and loudspeaker at a South Delhi ground for Chhath Puja by two organisers.
The court said that public address system should be used only by the police to address the large number of people gathered at the Chhath ground in Aya Nagar.
The four-day Chhath festival began on October 24 and will end on October 27. The puja is observed mainly in Bihar, Jharkhand and parts of Uttar Pradesh.
The Delhi government has said that the third day of the festival will be a holiday. Last year too, the city government had declared it a holiday on the occasion.
Delhi has around 40 lakh people, hailing from eastern Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, who have settled in the national capital. All political parties see them as a key electorate, and therefore seek to woo them.
The devotees offer ‘arghya‘ to the setting sun and the rising sun in succession on its last two days. Celebrated from the sixth day (hence called ‘Chhath’) after Diwali, the Puja relives the age-old tradition of paying obeisance to the Sun God.
“This court is of the view that Delhi government may consider the suggestion made by district magistrate (South) last year and implement it in the present season,” Justice Vibhu Bakhru said.
The court also asked Additional Commissioner of Police (Licensing) to immediately issue an advisory directing that no person is allowed to use stage and public address system, which should only be used by the police to address the public to maintain law and order.
The court passed the order while disposing a plea filed by Purvanchal Chhath and Sanskritik Vikas Samiti, a registered society which claimed to be organising Chhath Puja for people of Bihar and eastern Uttar Pradesh for last 24 years.
The samiti, in its petition filed through advocate Ritesh Sharma, sought direction prohibiting the police from issuing licence to another society – Purvanchal Sanskritik and Samajik Vikas Manch – for organising Chhath Puja at the ground on October 26 and 27.
It said the ground was not large enough to accommodate two organisers and may create law and order problem as every year, around 10,000 people gathered there to worship Sun God.
Additional standing counsel Satyakam, who appeared for Delhi government and Delhi Police’s ACP, told the court that the licences were granted for the puja by the police after receiving reports from the local police and traffic police.
He said law and order situation was examined and licences were issued after examining all aspects and that it was a considered decision to grant licence to more than one organiser as Chhath was a big religious programme.