The Supreme Court Thursday turned down a plea seeking permission to carry out Muharram processions across the country. It said that the general order of this nature for the entire country couldn’t be passed.
A three-judge bench led by Chief Justice of India S A Bobde also remarked, “If we allow this, there will be chaos and one particular community will be targeted for spreading Covid-19. We don’t want that”.
The court was hearing a plea filed by Shia cleric Syed Kalbe Jawad.
During the hearing, the petitioner cited the example of the top court’s orders allowing the Puri Jagannath Yatra and permitting limited entry of devotees to three Jain temples in Mumbai’s Dadar, Chembur and Byculla on August 22 and 23 to offer prayers on the occasion of the Paryushan festival.
The CJI, however, distinguished them saying that it was in one place and one set route. He added that the court could assess the risk and pass the order for only Puri. In the Jain Temple matter, it was for three temples only and five people at a time.
Had the plea contemplated seeking permission for just one place, it could have been considered after a risk assessment of the spread of the pandemic, the court said.
The petitioner then requested the court to permit the procession in Lucknow since a large chunk of the members of the Shia community resides in there. This plea, however, did not find favour with the bench, who instead asked him to approach the Allahabad High Court for permission.
The apex court, therefore, dismissed the petition with liberty to approach the Allahabad High Court.