Justice V L Achliya was hearing a petition filed by ‘Bihari Front’, of which former MP Sanjay Nirupam is also a member, challenging an order passed by the Collector of Mumbai suburban on November 5 prohibiting it from inviting celebrities during the Chhath festival, scheduled to be held on November 17 and 18 at Juhu beach.
The Collector allowed the organisation to hold the puja and erect a platform on the beach for performance of rituals but did not allow it to put up a temporary fence to create a dry zone and invite celebrities.
“Why do you (Bihari Front) want to call celebrities for such festivals?” Justice Achliya asked.
Advocate Anirudh Garge, appearing for the organisation, told the court that they are only inviting former Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, who wants to celebrate the festival, and that she is not a celebrity.
“We have been celebrating the festival for the last 18 years at Juhu beach and till date there has not been any complaint of violation of the rules and conditions imposed on us,” he said.
The petition further claimed that it is the discretion of the organisation whether or not to invite celebrities and the authority concerned cannot dictate terms after granting permission.
The court today posted the petition for hearing on November 16 before a regular bench of the high court.
Last month, the HC had refused to grant permission to cultural organisation ‘Mann Ranglo’ to hold Chhath Puja after observing that an end needs to be put to celebration of festivals with songs and dances, instead of rituals.
Mann Ranglo approached the HC after the Collector refused it permission on the ground that it had violated noise pollution rules and other conditions laid down when permission was granted previously.