The Delhi High Court has decided not to interfere with Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party(AAP) government regarding their verdict to ban Chhath Puja celebrations at public places. These included ponds and riverbanks in the city. This came after the city saw a huge spike in Coronavirus cases since October.
A third wave of Coronavirus has hit the capital in October. This third wave saw a record 8,000 cases just in the last week. This has led to the Centre reinforcing many restrictions and bans in the capital city. Following this was another decision by the AAP government prohibiting any kind of gatherings or celebrations in public places for Chhath Puja on November 20.
Chhath Puja is celebrated by people in various parts of the country. New Delhi has also observed the occasion in large numbers. Mostly eople from Bihar and eastern Uttar Pradesh celebrate the festival actively.
The Delhi Disaster Management Authority decided to contain the virus. This led to the Durga Jan Seva Trust filing a petition that challenged the decision of the Kejriwal government. The trust sought permission to allow 1,000 people to gather for the occasion of Chhath Puja.
The Delhi High Court decided not to interfere with the state government and dismissed the petition. They stated that the third wave of the infection was already ongoing in New Delhi. Furthermore, he added that allowing a large gathering of people would result in a large number of ‘super spreaders’.
The High Court was surprised at the petition to allow 1000 people during Chhath Puja celebrations
A bench of Justice Hima Kohli and Subramonium Prasad dismissed the petition. The bench said that the petition was meritless and remarked, “Oh really! Today when the Delhi government is not allowing marriages with over 50 persons, you want only 1,000 persons. How come?”
They also expressed shock and surprise that somebody could file a petition in a critical situation like the one now. They said, “In today’s day and time, such a petition is belied by the ground reality.”
The bench added that the authorities have passed the orders after considering the rise in COVID infections in Delhi. They added that the petitioner should have taken into consideration the current circumstances in the city. Furthermore, they added that it appeared the petitioner is not alive to the COVID-19 situation.
The bench noted, “The infection rate is hovering between 7,800 to 8,593…the death rate is in double figures. There are 42,000 active cases.”