The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Karnataka government to maintain status quo for a few days in the event of Ganesh Chaturthi at Idgah ground in Bengaluru. Also said that Ganesh Chaturthi puja can be done elsewhere instead of Idgah ground in Chamarajpet, Bengaluru. A bench headed by Indira Banerjee asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Karnataka government, to maintain status quo for a few days. “You worship somewhere else and go back to the High Court,” the bench said. In the bench, Justice A.S. Oka and MM Sundaresh was also present.
The bench emphasized that in the meantime, both the parties maintained status quo today and disposed of the petitions filed by the Central Muslim Association of Karnataka and the Karnataka State Board of AUQAF against the Government of Karnataka. The petitioners had moved the Supreme Court challenging the order of the Karnataka High Court, which had allowed Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations at Idgah grounds in Chamarajpet, Bengaluru. The matter was referred to 3-judges after a difference of opinion between the two judges of Justice Hemant Gupta and Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia.
Senior advocate Dushyant Dave, representing one of the petitioners, said the state government wanted to change the status quo of 200 years. Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for the petitioner, also submitted that this is the land of Idgah and it should not be used for festivals of other religions. During the hearing, the bench said that for 200 years, no other religious activity was carried out on the land in question, so why not the status quo? The bench said, whatever did not happen for 200 years, let it be.
The apex court was informed that the Karnataka government has allowed Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations tomorrow and the day after at Idgah ground in Bengaluru. Last week, the High Court had given permission to hold Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations at Idgah ground in Chamarajpet, Bengaluru. The High Court had said that the government can take a decision to allow the festival on the ground.
The court passed the order after the state government filed an appeal challenging the August 25 interim order to maintain status quo. The High Court amended the interim order and allowed the state government to consider applications seeking use of the land for religious and cultural activities for a limited period with effect from August 31 and pass appropriate orders.
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