MUMBAI: Public masses across 123 Catholic churches in Mumbai have been suspended till April 4 in view of the coronavirus outbreak, the Bombay High Court was informed on Friday.
The Archbishop of Bombay on Friday filed an affidavit to this effect.
A lawyer had written to the high court, claiming that despite warnings and requests by the authorities that public gatherings should be avoided for containing the epidemic, people were attending masses in the city's churches.
A division bench of Acting Chief Justice B P Dharmadhikari and Justice N R Borkar had taken cognizance of the letter and asked the government to respond.
Archbishop of Bombay, Oswald Cardinal Gracias, said in an affidavit before the court that all masses have been suspended till April 4.
"In light of the changing situation, with a view to protect and safeguard all faithful and humanity as a whole and in support of the Prime Minister's address including his request to observe Janata Curfew, the Archbishop. Has directed that all masses will be suspended from March 21," it said.
The bench accepted the statement and posted the matter for further hearing on April 7.
Advocate Savina Crasto claimed in her letter that masses were being conducted twice daily, and the distribution of the Holy Communion which is received by the faithful on their mouth was an unhealthy practice in the current circumstances.
She also attached photographs showing people attending a mass at a church in south Mumbai, seeking a direction to the government to take appropriate action.