6 Sep 2021 3:34 AM GMT
Former Supreme Court Judge Justice Kurian Joseph has addressed his concerns regarding the restrictions imposed upon re-opening of worship places to the public to the Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.The letter started off with appreciation for the commendable efforts of the Government agencies, healthcare workers and civil society volunteers to contain the outbreak of the pandemic in...
Former Supreme Court Judge Justice Kurian Joseph has addressed his concerns regarding the restrictions imposed upon re-opening of worship places to the public to the Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
The letter started off with appreciation for the commendable efforts of the Government agencies, healthcare workers and civil society volunteers to contain the outbreak of the pandemic in the capital, under the leadership and guidance of the Chief Minister.
He expressed his relief and encouragement about the intensity of the pandemic having come down significantly in the capital.
Following this, the retired Judge brought to the attention of the Chief Minister the Order dated 30th August 2021, by which a multitude of services, such as restaurants, bars, theatres, and auditoriums was permitted to resume operations with 50% of the seating capacity, from 31st August 2021.
The letter also laid emphasis on how weekly markets and spas were permitted as well. In fact, through the aforesaid Order, the permissible number of people who can attend services like funerals and marriage was further increased to 100.
Justice Kurian Joseph inferred these as positive markers indicating the society getting back to normalcy.
Thereafter, he invited the attention of the AAP founder to an aspect that required immediate consideration and action.
The said Order had continued to impose restrictions on entry to religious places. The Judge reproduced the relevant phrase from the Order as such:
"...religious places shall be permitted to open, but no visitors will be allowed."
The Judge affirmed that restrictions on places of public worship were relaxed before the onset of the second wave. Back then, services had resumed in such places with restricted numbers and respecting other Covid-19 protocols.
He then divulged that the new restrictions were reintroduced only on account of the second wave of the pandemic.
His primary concern was that now that the pandemic had thinned down significantly, and that relaxations were granted for several other services, permitting religious worships and services in places of public worship would not cause any adverse impact.
The former Judge also suggested that the prohibition of services in places of public worship will be discriminatory and may amount to a denial of the constitutional rights guaranteed under Articles 14, 19, 21 and 25.
On a lighter note, it was written that 'allowing people to attend religious worships would alleviate their stress and infuse them with positivity, hope, inner strength, and confidence, which is the need of the hour.'
As such, the letter requested the Chief Minister to look into the matter immediately and permit worship and services in religious places in Delhi respecting the Covid-19 protocols.