By – Rakshita Jain
On Friday, the Calcutta High Court allowed the West Bengal government to hold the Gangasagar Mela this year in the middle of a steep rise in Covid-19 cases in the state but came with restrictions that would make the fair virtually lose all its shine once implemented.
On Thursday, the Court had restrained judgment in the plea seeking cancellation of this year’s Gangasagar Mela due to rising Covid-19 cases in the State of West Bengal. The Division Bench of Chief Justice Prakash Shrivastava and Justice Kesang Doma Bhutia directed the Bengal government to “implement with full force” the state’s own order, dated 2 January 2022, at the Mela area. Due to the rise in the cases, certain restrictions will be imposed as only 50 percent of gatherings shall be allowed at a time whether it is social, religious, or cultural.
Calcutta High Court allows the State to hold the Gangasagar Mela only by following strict Covid restrictions with a surge in Covid-19 cases in West Bengal. Although experts are fully against holding the Ganga Sagar Mela this year.
However, the Court even orders the State government to take its decision within 24 hours to announce Sagar Island, where the fair will be held, as a notified area.
Medical practitioner Dr. Avinandam Mondal filed a Public Interest Litigation for seeking the ban on this event this year, the state submitted that it’s expecting over 5 lakh pilgrims from 8 to 16 January in Mela. The Home Secretary of the State ensures that restrictions will be followed strictly without any failure.
The Court formed a three-member panel of Leader of Opposition in the State , Chairman, West Bengal Human Rights Commission or his representative and a representative of the state government to regulate the crowd and ensure that the courts orders be followed strictly
The Court also added to aware people of the risk of visiting Mela through advertisements in newspapers and electronic media and to make an appeal to them to stay safe and avoid visiting the Ganga Sagar Mela this year. Even as per the Court’s order, administrations have to take immediate actions and also directed the Mamta Banerjee government to perform and carry out activities to aware pilgrims to avoid the fair in large numbers.