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SC refuses to grant permission for Muharram processions

The Supreme Court was hearing a 2014 contempt petition filed by advocate Prashant Bhushan-led Common Cause, which challenged the constitutionality of the search committee rules for the appointment of the Lokpal. Photo: MintPremium
The Supreme Court was hearing a 2014 contempt petition filed by advocate Prashant Bhushan-led Common Cause, which challenged the constitutionality of the search committee rules for the appointment of the Lokpal. Photo: Mint

  • The plea, filed by prominent Shia leader from Uttar Pradesh, Syed Kalbe Jawad, sought permission for the procession with only five participants who would ensure all covid-19 safety norms are followed adequately

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to grant permission for Muharram processions, even with a limited number of participants, owing to the covid-19 pandemic.

The court asked the petitioners to approach high courts of the respective states where they seek to take out processions and said, “We will not pass orders that could risk health of so many people."

The plea, filed by prominent Shia leader from Uttar Pradesh, Syed Kalbe Jawad, sought permission for the procession with only five participants who would ensure all covid-19 safety norms are followed adequately.

Chief Justice SA Bobde said, “You're asking for vague directions for the whole country for this community. Jagannath Puri case was one specific place where the Rath was to go from point A to B. If it was one specific place, we can assess the danger and pass orders."

The bench, also comprising Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian, said “We cannot pass general orders. It is not possible to give general directions. It will create chaos and a particular community will be targeted for spreading Covid."

The court was referring to the Tablighi Jamaat incident, where a sect of Sunni Islam had organized a religious congregation in mid-March at Delhi's Nizamuddin Markaz, a mosque located in the heart of the city. The building where the event was organised had become one of the biggest hotspots in India, significantly adding to the number of cases across the country.

On 25 August, the court had directed the petitioners to implead the 28 states as respondent party in the Muharram procession case. The chief justice had said, “States are not party, we can't pass order without hearing the States as procession will take place in States."

The bench told the petitioners that amid the pandemic, it is the state governments which are empowered to enforce the Centre’s guidelines issued under the Disaster Management Act to tackle covid-related decisions.

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