The Supreme Court on Monday heard a plea seeking permission of the Top Court for taking out the Muharram public procession, in a limited capacity, with 5 people only, in light of the pandemic situation.
A bench of Chief Justice SA Bobde, Justices AS Bopanna & V. Ramasubramaniun asked the petitioner's Advocate Wasi Haider to implead 28 states in his petition 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.
"As prayed, the petitioner is permitted to implead 28 States as party respondents in the instant petition within a period of four weeks" said the bench.
Haider 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".
Haider further submitted that guidelines for Muharram, which will be observed from August 20, in view of the COVID-19 pandemic by the State of Andhra Pradesh. The Guidelines issued by the an order released on August 12, by Principal Secretary, Minorities Welfare Department, Mohd. Ilyas Rizvi states that "The last days (9th and 10th) of Muharram (Shahadat) should be performed only by Mujawars, Muthawallies or Managing Committees without any public processions".
He added that only 4 days were left for the same to be carried out and that it was imperative for the court to allow it.
CJI Bobde however refused to pass any orders but stated that 28 States & the Union were not impleaded in the petition and that he would like to hear them first, before passing any orders. 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.
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