The Centre has told the Delhi High Court that no gathering can be permitted at Nizamuddin Markaz mosque as the same has been prohibited by Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA). This submission comes a day after the Centre told the court that the mosque can be made operational based on DDMA guidelines. The Centre submitted that till the next date of hearing, the five persons who have been holding prayers at the mosque since last year will continue to be permitted to do so, reported Indian Express.
The bench of Justice Mukta Gupta has been 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. The court has asked authorities to file a response to the plan submitted by Delhi Waqf Board for holding prayers during the month.
IE reported that in response to Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta’s statement that all religious gatherings have been banned, senior advocate Ramesh Gupta, representing the Waqf Board, submitted before the court that he can submit photographs of Karol Bagh Hanuman Mandir to show a long queue and absence of social distancing. Gupta also referred to the gathering taking place at Haridwar and asked whether the rules of the central government are not applicable there and whether they are only for Muslims.
Justice Gupta responded that is the reason why the court 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. SG Mehta stated that he does not have the luxury of making political statements and cannot compare what is happening in Kumbh as here the decision has been made by DDMA and nobody can question that.
During the April 12 hearing, the counsel appearing for the Centre had submitted that the Nizamuddin markaz mosque can be made operational for the devotees to offer prayers, subject to the guidelines issued by the DDMA in order to maintain social distancing. It was agreed that a joint inspection will be carried out by the SHO, PS Hazrat Nizamuddin and the office bearers of the mosque in the presence of a member of the Waqf Board and its counsel to measure the area of the mosque where the devotees can offer Namaz five times in the day. The petitioner had agreed to install CCTV cameras in the premises to ensure safety and security of the premises.
On Monday, 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
The April 12 order can be read here: