The Calcutta High Court today adjourned till Wednesday hearing of petitions for extension of immersion schedule for Durga puja that has been restricted by the West Bengal government in view of Muharram. A division bench presided by Acting Chief Justice Nishita Mhatre took the decision to allow a comprehensive hearing of the three petitions later because there was paucity of time as Mhatre was retiring today.
State Advocate General Kishore Dutta submitted before the bench, which also comprised Justice T Chakraborty, that the government will allow immersion of all Durga idols that reach the designated sites on the banks of rivers and other water bodies till 10 pm on Vijaya Dashami at the end of the five-day festival. The state had on Friday told the court that it has decided to extend the deadline for immersion from 6 pm to 10 pm on Vijaya Dashami that falls on September 30.
Immersion of idols would again be allowed from October two, the state had informed the court. No immersion of idols would be allowed on October one, when Muharram is scheduled to be observed.
Counsel for one of the petitioners Smarajit Roy Chowdhury today reiterated his prayer before the court that immersion of idols in rivers and other water bodies in the state be allowed till 1.36 am on Vijaya Dashami in accordance with the ‘Vishuddha Siddhanta’, one of the three almanacs followed by Durga puja organisers in the state.
Another petitioner claimed that there was no bar on immersion if the date coincided with Muharram till a few years ago and prayed that it be allowed this year too on October one.
When the third petitioner’s counsel rose to make submissions, the division bench said that since there were diverse prayers by petitioners and all of them wanted to be heard, it was adjourning the petitions till Wednesday. The bench said it would be difficult to hear all the parties as also the submissions of the Advocate General during the course of the day and with the Acting Chief Justice Mhatre retiring today, it was adjourning the matters for hearing on Wednesday.
The petitions are likely to be taken up for hearing by a division bench presided by Mhatre’s successor.