HC okays Dussehra celebrations at Nanded gurudwara

‘This should not be used as a precedent by others to seek similar permissions’

The Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court has allowed a Nanded gurudwara to conduct its annual Dussehra celebrations going on since three centuries.

However, Takht Sachkhand Shri Hazur Abchal Nagar Sahib will have to follow strict guidelines laid down by the court, which include mandatory COVID-19 test and no congregation.

A Division Bench of Justices S.V. Gangapurwala and Shrikant Kulkarni was hearing a petition filed by The Takht Sachkhand Shri Hazur Abchal Nagar Sahib Board, Nanded, through its secretary Ravinder Singh. The petition was filed assailing the order passed on October 21, 2020 by the Secretary, the Disaster Management, Relief and Rehabilitation, Revenue and Forests Department, M.S. Mantralaya, Mumbai, which had rejected the Board’s representation to celebrate/conduct the Dussehra, takhat isnan, dipmala mahalla, gurta gaddi kirtan and gurta-gaddi sampathi kirtan darbar nagar kirtan event at Nanded.

The court said, “The Board may celebrate the event of Dussehra by observing certain conditions: one Palkhi Sahib with Shri Guru Granth Sahibji; historical Nishan Sahib 16 numbers; horses of Guru Sahib, five numbers; Kirtan Jathe 03 numbers. The same shall be on two large open trucks. Sixteen persons would board one truck and eight persons would board another truck. The same would be for the distance of 1.5 Kms. as suggested in the application of the petitioner.”

The court also said, “The petitioner shall get the test of Covid-19 performed of the persons boarding the trucks. Only those persons whose reports are Covid-19 negative shall be permitted to board the trucks. The said open trucks would be accompanied by pilot car and the escort car of the Police Department. The petitioner shall take videograph of the entire event from the stage of loading and the culmination of the event. En route, there shall not be congregation of persons. No person shall accompany the two open trucks on foot,” the court mentioned.

The Bench said, “The order is being passed by way of an exception, which is not intended to be used as a precedent by other persons, to seek permissions, to hold any festival/festivities, which would involve by their very nature congregation of people.”

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