The Calcutta High Court on Wednesday told the Bengal government that it could not block a citizen’s constitutional right to practice religion on the mere assumption that there could be disruption of law and order.
“Let them (Hindus and Muslims) live in harmony, do not create a line between them,” acting chief justice Rakesh Tiwary said, referring to the government’s decision to disallow the immersion of Durga idols on October 1, when Muharram would be observed.
The bench hearing three PILs, which have challenged the restrictions imposed on immersion of idols, is expected to give its verdict on Thursday. But its observations on Wednesday were categorical: a mere assumption that a law-and-order situation might arise because Dashami and Muharram fell on consecutive days could not be the basis of imposing curbs on immersion timings.
“If you say there is complete harmony, are you (the state administration) not creating a line of division between the two communities by your action?” asked Justice Harish Tandon.
“People have the right to practice their religious activities, whichever community they may be from, and the state cannot put restrictions unless it has a concrete ground to believe that two communities cannot live together,” the acting chief justice said.