The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to grant permission to hold Muharram Procession amid the covid19 pandemic.
A bench of CJI SA Bobde, Justices AS Bopanna & V. Ramasubramaniun observed that granting general directions to take out the procession across the country shall lead to chaos & a particular community may then be targeted for spreading the virus.
The Petitioner had cited the examples of the top court allowing the Puri's Rath Yatra procession to be held under stipulated standard operating procedures but CJI Bobde remarked that these are dissimilar cases as in the Puri chariot procession there were identified points for access.
Petitioner also went on to cite the recent indulgence of the Supreme Court wherein it had allowed the permission to offer prayers in select Jain Temples for the Jain Paryushan Temple in Dadar & Bycullar.
CJI: "They were all limited prayers, cannot pass general directions. Ganesh festival was not permitted in Tamil Nadu"
The Court further stated disallowed the request of the petitioner for holding procession in Lucknow, stating that a large percentage of the Shia community resided there and orders may be passed in that regard.
2 days ago, A bench of Chief Justice SA Bobde, Justices AS Bopanna & V. Ramasubramaniun asked the petitioner's seeking directions to the Union & State Governments for allowing the Mourning Procession to take place in a limited capacity only, i.e. with 5 people participating in the procession only.
Counsel had then submitted that the ritual is performed every year and that he is only asking that 5 people be allowed to do so. To this Chief Justice SA Bobde replied "But Covid is not there every year".
CJI also added that just recently, they had allowed people to offer prayers at the Prayushan Festival in a limited capacity at temples of Dadar, Bycullar & Chembur but that was also because State of Maharashtra & the union were before the bench as well.