Delhi – 21.08.2020
In a Matter heard by the Supreme Court in a petition made by the Jain Community to allow opening of the temples for the Purpose of Paryushan Festival Observed by the Jain Community, the Supreme Court bench headed by the CJI Bobde allowed the Petition made by the Jain Community.
Appearing for the Jain Community Senior Counsel Dave submitted that – Prayer is sought subject to an assurance from the petitioners that all safety measures as regards Covid – 19 will be followed.
Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta submitted that – the Centre does not have a quarrel with the petitioner, MHA and MoHFW guidelines do not bar religious activities. Subject to compliance of the safeguards, religious activities can go on, only not any religious congregation cannot.
Sr. Counsel Dave further submitted that they are demanding that at one time only 5 people be allowed in the temple in a day and in one day only 250 people between the age of 12-65 will be allowed.
Appearing for the State of Maharashtra, Senior Advocate A. M. Singhvi that “I am contesting this in the interest of the state which would be at a great difficulty in managing the situation.”
CJI SA Bobde Further asked – It is a dynamic situation and it is fact intensive. If you can enforce the SOP and obtain an undertaking (of following all safety measures) then why shouldn’t the activities be held?
If it is the matter of five people at a time in one temple and this format can be replicated in all the places, then we are not opposed to expanding this scope of this to beyond Jain temples – why not Hindu temples, why not Muslim shrines.
Sr. Adv. Singhvi appearing for the State of Maharashtra, Argued that point of responsibility of policing to ensure that all the safety measures are followed, to which Sr. Adv. Dave responded, There is no lockdown, no curfew, we as a community are willing to extend cooperation with the State then what is this argument of policing. Are they policing establishments like malls and liquor shops and barber shops that are open?
The CJI then made a remark if Economic activities can be allowed then why not Religious Activities.
Responding to all the queries of the CJI, Sr. Adv. Dave responded – Petitioners assure the Court that the required undertaking for following of all the prescribed SOP by this evening.
CJI accordingly allowing the petition made by the Trust passed an order that – We accordingly permit the petitioners to conduct prayers at three temples in Dadar, Byculla, and Chembur in Mumbai for the remaining two days of Paryushan subject to the strict compliance of the SOP.
Earlier on a Petition made by the Jain Community the Bombay High Court had disallowed the petition.