Allahabad HC denies nod for Muharram procession, says govt action not discriminatory

The Bench said the state administration had put restrictions on all the religious events in the wake of the spread of COVID-19.

LUCKNOW: Allahabad High Court on Saturday dismissed all the petitions filed to seek permission for burial of ‘Tazia’procession on the occasion of Muharram.

The High Court Division Bench, comprising Justice Shashi Kant Gupta and Justice Shamim Ahmed, reserved the judgment on petitions filed by Roshan Khan and several others seeking permission to carry out the Tazia procession.

The petitioners had argued that any restriction on processions during Muharram was in violation of their fundamental right of freedom to practice religion. The court refused to accord permission to petitioners to take out the Tazia procession by vacating the ban imposed on religious events and congregations. The court also rejected the plea of the petitioners that the state government’s order in this regard was discriminatory.

The Bench said the state administration had put restrictions on all the religious events in the wake of the spread of COVID-19. No discrimination, whatsoever, seemed to have done with any particular community, said the court. The bench added that even the traditional tableaux procession on the occasion of Janmashtami and Ganesh Chaturthi Pandals were also banned by the state government.

Similarly, the Tazia processions were also banned during the COVID-19 pandemic, said the bench adding that the accusation of targeting a particular community was baseless. “The government has taken the step to check the spread of coronavirus,” said the Bench.

Rejecting the petitions, the High Court bench said that everyone was standing at the seashore.” We can’t say how deep into the sea will the corona wave take us. We will have to learn the art of living with COVID,” said the judges adding that they were denying the permission for tazia procession with a heavy heart.

“We believe that in future, the Almighty will accord us the opportunity to practice our respective religious practices,” said the judges. The petitioners’ counsel, during the arguments on Friday, had claimed that other religious festivals were allowed by the state government during the same period but only the procession of Muharram was not allowed, which was discriminatory action on the part of the state government.

Additional chief standing counsel (ACSC) Ramanand Pandey, appearing for state government, argued that freedom of religion is not an absolute right and the same is subject to public order, morality and health. “Since Covid-19 is a pandemic, hence the state government can restrict religious activities, keeping in mind the issue of public health,” he said.

“The state action is not discriminatory. During August, the procession was not allowed for Ganesh Chaturthi and Janamasthmi. Public is allowed to practise religion inside their houses but no public gathering is permitted,” said Pandey.

Source: The New Indian Express


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here