Questioning the rationale of the Ministry of Home Affairs allowing the reopening of religious places of worship with effect from June 8, a Public Interest Litigation petition has been filed in the Calcutta High Court.
Filed by lawyer Priyanka Tibrewal, the petition stated that decision is "unnecessary, arbitrary and against the maintenance of public order and health"
The petitioner states that the closure of religious places to contain COVID-19 spread was a regulatory measure justifiable under "public order and health" grounds under Article 25.
However, when the COVID-19 cases are on rise, the MHA and the West Bengal government have allowed the re-opening of places of worship, stated the petitioner
"The only way to prevent the spread of the virus is social distancing. Under such circumstances, non-essential activities such as opening of places of worship should be strongly discouraged", the plea read.
In addition, the petitioner also sought a direction that children below 12 years of age be exempted from attending school physically till a medicine to cure the disease or a vaccine is developed
The petitioner stated that children below the age of 12 years are susceptible to COVID-19 and should be exempted from going to school till a vaccine or a cure for the disease is found.
As per the "Unlock" guidelines issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs on March 30, a decision on re-opening of schools and colleges will be taken based on a review of COVID-19 situation.
On Thursday, a bench comprising Chief Justice T B Radhakrishnan and Arijit Banerjee said the matter will be taken up for hearing on June 19 and asked the state and central governments to be represented by their lawyers.
Click here to download the petition