COVID Situation ‘Grim’, But HC Permits 50 to Offer Namaz at Markaz
“Since all religious places are open, this also had to be opened”, the Court said.
The Delhi High Court on Thursday, 15 April, allowed 50 people to offer namaz five times a day during Ramadan on the first floor of the Nizamuddin Markaz, which has been shut since the Tablighi Jamaat congregation in March last year.
A single Judge Bench of Justice Mukta Gupta, however, ordered that the devotees would have to strictly abide by the COVID-19 standard operating procedure issued by the authorities in 2020.
The order was passed by Justice Gupta on a plea of the Delhi Waqf Board, with the matter listed for further hearing on 16 July.
"The situation is getting grim day by day. But since all religious places are open and Nizamuddin Markaz is a place of worship, this also had to be opened," the court told the Waqf Board, according to LiveLaw.
The report further said that the high court relied on a notification of the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) of 2020, which is still in force.
Noting that the 10 April DDMA order, referred to by the Centre, does not ask for closing of religious places/places of worship, the court recorded that what was prohibited under the notification were social/political/sports/entertainment/academic/cultural/religious/festival related and other gatherings and congregations.
The court arrived at this decision after reportedly analysing previous DDMA orders and drawing a distinction between holding religious and cultural congregations and closing places of worship.
Presently, the permission has only been granted for opening one floor of the mosque. On the Waif’s Board request to open the other three floors of the mosque as well, the court said that the Board could make an application to the SHO concerned.
Earlier, a day after saying that the Nizamuddin Markaz mosque in Delhi could be declared open in view of Ramadan, the Centre, on 13 April, had done a U-turn, informing the Delhi High Court that no religious gathering can be permitted owing to the latest disaster management rules.
These rules are applicable to Delhi alone.
(With inputs from LiveLaw and Bar and Bench)
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