Bengaluru: The Karnataka High Court yesterday expressed displeasure over the blanket permission granted by the Ramanagara Deputy Commissioner without putting a cap on the number of invitees to the marriage of Nikhil Kumaraswamy, son of JD-S leader and former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy, held on April 17, during the lockdown period.
The Court posed this question to the State Government while expressing surprise over the blanket permission granted by the DC on Apr. 16 without imposing any limit on the number of guests. The permission letter stated that those persons identified by a representative of Kumaraswamy could be allowed into the wedding venue.
A special Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice B.V. Nagarathna made these observations during a video-conference hearing on PIL petitions. The Government had told the Court that between 80 and 95 people attended the ceremony.
“We are not concerned about only this marriage, prima facie the object of lockdown itself will be defeated if the policy of the State and Central Governments is that more than 50 persons could be permitted to attend a marriage,” the Court said.
It directed the State and Centre to tell whether they are open for the District Magistrate to grant permission for gatherings irrespective of the number of persons attending, and that if this was the policy, the Government must allow more citizens to benefit and cannot extend it to only some individuals.
As the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs on Apr. 15 do not indicate the number of persons allowed to attend weddings, does it mean any number of persons could have been allowed to attend such functions prior to the May 1 guidelines, the Bench asked.
The Bench orally observed that at the very least, the State Government should have accepted that not restricting the number of attendees was a mistake. The Court adjourned further hearing on the matter till May 12 after directing the State Government to also submit information on the number of vehicle movement passes issued.