NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday agreed to examine a PIL seeking the re-opening of religious places of all faiths that have remained closed since the nationwide lockdown due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India S A Bobde issued notice to the Centre, states and UTs seeking their response to a plea filed by the Gitarth Ganga Trust.
The plea has sought the re-opening of religious places to uphold the fundamental rights of citizens and argued that the prohibition by the states and the locking down of places of worship did not meet the test of proportionality i.e. a complete closure of places of worship was not necessary to meet the objectives of fighting the pandemic.
All that is necessary is, the petitioner said, that requisite precautions be followed which have been laid down by the government. Referring to the opening of commercial activities, the plea said it was discrimination against religious institutions if they were not granted similar permission.
On August 21, the Supreme Court had told the Maharashtra government that the apex court finds it very strange that the state is allowing activities involving economic interests, but the Covid-19 is cited when it comes to opening of temples.
The SC had allowed the Jain community temples at Dadar, Byculla and Chembur in Mumbai to remain open to worshippers on the last two days of Paryushan on August 22 and 23 to allow the devotees to worship the Jain Tirthankaras.
The Sri Parshwatilak Shwetambar Murtipujak Jain Trust had moved the apex court against the August 14 order of the Bombay HC declining permission to allow offering of prayers during the Paryushan period.