The Central Government today told the Delhi High Court that the mosque at Nizamuddin Markaz can be made operational for devotees to offer prayers for Ramdan, which is starting from Apr 14, subject to the Delhi Disaster Management Authority's (DDMA's) guidelines for Covid-19, and social distancing will have to be observed at the mosque.
However, the court refused to accept the submission of Centre and Delhi Police that only 20 people be allowed to enter the premises at a time, out of a police-verified list of 200 persons.
The single judge bench of Justice Mukta Gupta orally said, "It is an open place. They don't have to have a fixed (number of) devotees when no other religious place has (such restrictions)."
The court also refused to have a cap of 200 ("police-verified") list of people who would be allowed to visit the mosque, stating that anyone could wish to visit a temple, mosque or church.
Allowing the same, the court took on record the submission of the Delhi Waqf Board, for a joint inspection to be carried out of the mosque by the SHO of the jurisdictional police station and the office bearers of the mosque, in the presence of one member of the Waqf Board and Mr. Wajeeh Shafiq, Standing Counsel for the Board.
It has been submitted by the Board that the exercise of measuring the area of the mosque where the devotees can offer Namaz five times in the day, will be carried out today itself and as per the guidelines issued by the DDMA, keeping the distances required to be maintained, "blocks will be made at the place where the prayer mats can be put for the devotees to offer Namaz."
Asking the authorities to file a status report, the court has listed the case for hearing on Tuesday. Responding to the submission of the Union, the Board has also agreed to install CCTV cameras in discussion with the jurisdictional SHO by Apr 13, to ensure safety of persons of the premises and the visitors.
Delhi Waqf Board had earlier approached the court for easing of restrictions at the premises of Nizamuddin Markaz, which has been under lock since a case was registered in connection with a Tablighi Jamaat congregation there last year.