SC Denies Permission for Muharram Processions Amid COVID-19

If the petitioner would have sought permission for just one place, the court said, it may have been considered.

2 min read
A boy participates in mourning during a Muharram procession in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. Image used for representation purpose.

The Supreme Court on Thursday, 27 August, dismissed a petition seeking permission to carry out Muharram processions across the country amid COVID-19 related restrictions.

Stating that a general order for the entire country cannot be passed by the Court, Chief Justice of India SA Bobde said, as per Bar and Bench:

“If we allow this, there will be chaos and one particular community will be targeted for spreading COVID. We don’t want that.”

Court Explains Why Jagannath Puri Yatra Was Allowed

When the petitioner cited orders passed by the Supreme Court in relation to the Jagannath Puri Rath Yatra and the Jain Temples in Mumbai during Paryushan, the apex court reportedly said:

“You are giving Jagannath Puri example, there it was in one place and one set route where the Rath had to be drawn. We could assess the risk involved and pass the specific order for only Puri. In Jain Temple matter, it was for three temples only and five people at a time...”

And If the Petitioner Asks For One Place?

According to Bar and Bench, the Court stated that had the petitioner sought permission for just one place, it could have been considered after risk assessment of spread of the pandemic.

When the petitioner sought permission for allowing the procession for Lucknow city alone, the Court asked the petitioner to approach the Allahabad High Court.

The Bench, according to the Bar and Bench report, also observed that the state governments were not arrayed as parties in the plea.

According to Bar and Bench, in the previous hearing, the bench, comprising of Chief Justice of India SA Bobde and Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian, was informed that permission was being sought for processions in a limited manner with only five participants, and while ensuring that all other safety norms were followed.

(With inputs from Bar & Bench)

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