New Delhi: The Supreme Court today allowed the Jain Community in Mumbai to hold Paryushan Puja at Dadar, Byculla and Chembur temples on August 22 and 23 on the condition that SOP and social distancing protocols are followed.
The bench of Chief Justice SA Bobde, Justice A.S. Bopanna and Justice V. Ramasubramanian was hearing a plea filed by Shri Prashwattilak Shwetamber Murtipujak Tapagacch Jain Trust, seeking directions to allow Jain Temples in Mumbai to hold Paryushan Puja.
The bench, however, clarified that no permission for prayers/congregation will be given for any other temple.
Further, the order is not to be treated as a precedent for demand for permission for Ganpati festival or any other religious festivals that are coming up.
The bench further clarified that permission for Ganpati festival will have to be taken on a case to case basis by the state disaster management authorities.
Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for the state government, opposed the permission on the ground that Maharashtra being one of the worst affected states in the COVID 19 pandemic, allowing religious festivals can aggravate the already unmanageable situation.
He further submitted that he himself being a Jain was opposing it because with innumerable temples in the city, the administration will be helpless in controlling the congregation.
Senior Counsel Dushyant Dave, appearing for the petitioner Trust, submitted that the petitioners were representing only five main temples in Mumbai and ensured the Court that they can regulate their temples.
The bench was, however, of the view that a total ban can be imposed on the puja and observed that if the petitioners will faithfully comply with the undertaking it would not be hazardous to permit the worship at the three temples.
The petitioners had earlier approached the Bombay High Court, but the court did not pass any orders and adjourned the matter till September. Since the Paryushan Puja is to be conducted on August 22-23, the petitioners approached the Supreme Court.
– India Legal Bureau