Delhi HC allows 50 persons to offer Namaz at Nizamuddin Markaz Mosque; tells devotees to maintain Covid19 related SOP

THE Delhi High Court Thursday directed the Delhi police to permit 50 persons to perform Namaz five times at Masjid Bangley Wali on the first floor of Nizamuddin Markaz.

It said the devotees would have to offer namaz by maintaining social distancing and the Standard Operative Procedure (SOP) laid down by the Government of Delhi.

It also clarified that its order would be subject to any further notification of the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) in relation to religious places or places of worship by the public.

The court was ruling on a petition filed by Delhi Waqf Board seeking permission to offer namaz in the mosque in Nizamuddin Markaz.

Justice Mukta Gupta observed that religious places and places of worship had not been closed for the public through the government’s notification issued on April 10, and thus the petitioner had made out a case that devotees should be permitted to perform Namaz during the month of Ramzan at Masjid Bangley Wali.

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Justice Gupta also pointed out that the status report filed by Delhi Police would indicate that no clear stand had been taken as to whether any religious and festival-related gatherings or congregations were being permitted in other religious places, like temples, churches, mosques, etc.

The Delhi police, in its status report, submitted that the notification issued by the Government of Delhi on April 10 was applicable to all religious places within Delhi. It was, however, stated that the court could in its wisdom and discretion permit such person as it deemed fit and proper to perform namaz only on the ground floor of the Bangle Wali Masjid.

The petitioner also requested permission for other floors in the Masjid Bangley Wali to be used namaz, but the court said they would be at liberty to make an application in this regard to the SHO, PS Hazrat Nizamuddin who would consider the same in accordance with the law.

The Central Government submitted that it would be filing a detailed affidavit in response to the petition taking objection to the maintainability of the present petition in view of Article 25 of the Constitution of India and the judgment rendered by the Supreme Court in Dr. M. Ismail Faruqui and Others vs. Union of India and Others, where the top court had held  a mosque was not an “essential part of the practice of the religion of Islam”

The matter will now be heard on July 16.

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