New Delhi, Apr 15 (ILNS) The Delhi High Court today allowed 50 persons to offer Namaz five times a day at the Nizamuddin Markaz, which was closed for around a year, since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and the religious congregation of Tablighi Jamaat, which resulted in the spread of the virus.
A Single Judge Bench of Justice Mukta Gupta fixed the matter for further hearing on July 16, after noting that the said Mosque was a place of worship. “This Court permits 50 persons to offer Namaz five times a day at first floor of the said Mosque, in compliance with the DDMA guidelines,” the court said.
The Bench observed that since limited entry was being permitted at other places of worship upon the strict adherence to the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) issued by the competent authorities, the Markaz too can’t be kept shut, especially during the holy month of Ramzan.
“This Court finds that the petitioners have made a prima facie case that devotees may be allowed to offer Namaz at Masjid Banglewali. However, the same shall be done in compliance of the SOP by the DDMA.
“Considering that Namaaz is offered by the devotees five times during Ramadan, at the same time, it has to ensured that COVID-19 does not spread,” the Bench observed.
While the matter was being heard by way of video-conferencing, the Centre maintained its stand that 50 people may be permitted. Senior Advocate Ramesh Gupta argued that since the Mosque has four floors, more people may be permitted to offer prayers.
However, the court rejected the said argument by citing the alarming situation and the exponential rise in the number of cases in the national capital.
Appearing for the Central government, Advocates Rajat Nair and Amit Mahajan said, “The situation is becoming graver day by day as we argue before the court. Infection is at an all time high in Delhi and therefore, it would be not in the interest of anyone to press for a congregation of a religious nature at present time.”
The Centre also informed the court that Kalkaji temple is offering Darshan online. Sacred heart Church too is conducting online masses.
“The petitioner should also understand the unprecedented position of COVID-19 and may chose to make only those submissions, which makes an even,” Mr Nair submitted before the bench.
Earlier on April 13, the same Court had declined the request of the Delhi Waqf Board to allow 50 people to enter the Nizamuddin Markaz, but allowed five people to enter the said mosque and offer prayers.
The bench had expressed displeasure over the interview given by Delhi Waqf Board Chairman Amantullah Khan, in which he said, “The High Court has ordered for reopening of the Markaz Mosque.”
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, along with Advocate Rajat Nair, appearing for the Central government, said, “The entire human race is currently under an existential crisis.”
Responding to the said submissions, Senior Advocate Ramesh Gupta said, “My Lords, 35 lakh people took the holy dip during the Maha Kumbh recently.”
The court asked the lawyer to refrain from such a statement. “It’s not a public platform Mr Gupta, it’s a court of law,” the bench said. ILNS/ANB/SNG/RJ