The Delhi High Court has granted permission for up to 50 persons to offer namaz 5 times a day in Bangley Wali Masjid of Nizamuddin Markaz after the Centre and the Delhi police failed to file an affidavit clarifying their stand. The bench of Justice Mukta Gupta said that this was being allowed because other religious places were open but also warned that the situation in Delhi is very grim.
The court was hearing a petition filed by Delhi Waqf board for easing restrictions at Nizamuddin markaz mosque which has been locked up since a case was registered in connection with the Tablighi Jamaat congregation of 2020.
While the court has allowed 50 persons to offer prayers, it has also directed that the Standard Operating Protocol of the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) would have to be abided by, since the orders related to congregations in religious places were soon to be passed.
On the other hand, Adv. Rajat Nair appearing for the Waqf Board pleaded that as per the order 50 persons would be allowed on only one floor of the building which was operational but there are more floors and 50 persons should be allowed on each floor. The court, however, stated that the Board should file an application in this regard with the DDMA which will soon be issuing orders in that regard.
The court stated that the permission has been granted only because other places of worship are open, “but you must understand that the situation in Delhi is grim”. While passing the order, the court relied upon the June 2020 notification of DDMA which did not impose restrictions on religious places. The Police had in its inspection report stated that only 20 people could be accommodated inside the mosque while maintaining social distancing.
During the last hearing, the Solicitor General of India, Tushar Mehta had stated that no gathering can be allowed at the Markaz in accordance with DDMA guidelines. The court had however directed the Centre to file an affidavit to state whether the DDMA guidelines were being implemented for religious festivals at temples, mosques and churches and the Centre did not file any such affidavit. Arguing at the last hearing, senior advocate Ramesh Gupta, representing the Waqf Board, had submitted that he can submit photographs of Karol Bagh Hanuman Mandir to show a long queue and absence of social distancing. The court had then responded that is the reason why it has directed an affidavit be filed so that if all religious gatherings in temples, churches and mosques are not closed then the markaz can also be opened.
The court had rejected a submission made by Centre and Delhi that only 20 persons be allowed to enter the mosque during Ramzan out of a police-verified list of 200 people stating that anyone could wish to visit a temple, mosque or church. Justice Gupta orally remarked, “It is an open place. They don’t have to have a fixed (number of devotees) when no other religious place has (such restrictions),” reported LiveLaw.
Courtesy: Sabrang India