The Madras High Court last Monday dismissed a PIL seeking a direction to the state of Tamil Nadu to issue a Standard Operating Procedure to be followed while re-opening all religious places of worship, holding that it would tantamount to encroaching the Executive's jurisdiction.
"This Court does not find any merit in this writ petition, inasmuch as, the Government itself has not taken any decision as to when the temples are to re-opened", declared the division bench at the Madurai Seat of the High Court.
That apart, the Court was of the view that it cannot, now, issue any direction to the Government to issue a Standard Operating Procedure as prayed for by the petitioner "as that would amount to encroaching into the domain of the executive".
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 two days ago.
"Merely that in certain areas restrictions have been relaxed cannot be a ground to relax the same qua religious places of worship. The discretion not to permit opening of all the places of worship for the public and prohibiting holding of religious congregations/gatherings has been exercised judiciously", asserted the Punjab & Haryana High Court last week, upholding the state government's restrictions on religious places during Covid-19 lockdown.
As widely reported in the media, the Madras High Court had on Thursday asked the state why cannot complete lockdown be implemented for some time in Chennai while observing that the pandemic situation in the city and its suburbs is alarming as cases continue to rise.
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