Friday, December 1, 2023

Bombay HC allows Muharram procession with strict restrictions

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New Delhi: The Bombay High Court has given permission for a Muharram procession in the city with stringent restrictions in place in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A division bench of Justices S.J. Kathawalla and Madhav Jamdar gave permission after hearing of a petition filed by a local Shia Muslim organization seeking permission for a symbolic procession for Muharram

The state government and the petitioner, the All India Idaara-E-Tahafuz-E-Hussainiyat, reached an agreement and informed the court of it. Based on that, the court granted permission.

Advocate Rajendra Shirodkar, for the organisation, along with advocate Shahzad Naqvi, submitted that carrying of alam and taziya was part of Muharram rituals, and hence directions should be issued to the concerned authorities to permit the organisation to take out a procession consisting 20-50 people from Bhendi Bazar to the graveyard at Mazagaon. Shirodkar had also sought permission for other rituals to be held every day for two hours from August 27 to 30.

On Thursday, the court directed the principal secretary (home) and the secretary of disaster management department to hear the petitioners and submit their decision on whether the organisation could be allowed permission and to what extent. After perusing the report yesterday, the bench directed the state to prepare guidelines for the organisation to take out the taziya and alam. 

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As per the court’s order, members of the Shia Muslim community will be permitted to carry out the procession on August 30, between 4.30 pm and 5.30 pm on one pre-determined route only by trucks and not on foot.

A maximum of five persons will be allowed on a truck and only five will be permitted walk with the tazia symbol for the last 100 m on the selected route, the order stated.

In a representative capacity for and on behalf of the entire Shia community residing in the State, there will be only one Taziya, which will be carried from Zainabia (Bhendi Bazar) Mumbai to Byculla Mazgaon, Shia Cemetry situate at Mumbai, in the entire State. No other Taziya other than the one mentioned hereinabove, will be carried anywhere in the State, said the Court.

Shirodkar gave an undertaking on behalf of the organisation that it will adhere to the limited reliefs, the State submitted that it would only be applicable for the said organisation and should not be treated as a precedent.

After hearing the submissions and as the organisation consented, the court disposed of the Petition.

Read the order here;


-India Legal Bureau

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