New Delhi: The Supreme Court today agreed to examine if religious places of all faiths can be reopened. The court has issued notice to the Centre, along with other states, made a party in the public interest petition filed, saying that religious places can be reopened with safety measures in place.
The plea was filed seeking opening up of the places of worship and religious places throughout India which have been restricted at present by many of the states, with an objective to protect the fundamental rights enshrined and guaranteed under the Articles 14, 19(1)(a) and (b), 25, 26 and 21.
The petitioner, being concerned about the well-being and spiritual happiness of residents in India, filed the petition for the limited purpose of protecting the rights of devotees confined to the places of worship and while following the relevant guidelines strictly and not to encourage any religious congregation or procession. According to the plea, while the Unlock 1 guidelines allowed the opening of religious places outside the containment zones, many state governments have still not passed any order allowing the temples, mosques, churches, Jain temples, gurudwaras, etc. to reopen even after the passing of approximately three months after such relaxation for religious places was given by the central government.
The plea stated that prohibition by the states and locking down of places of worship does not meet the test of proportionality in administrative action. The complete closure of places of worship is not necessary to meet the objective of fighting the pandemic. All that is absolutely necessary is that the requisite precautions must be followed which have been laid down by the government.
-India Legal Bureau