New Delhi [India], September 9 (ANI) The Supreme Court on Wednesday agreed to examine a plea seeking the re-opening of religious places of all faiths across the country that have remained closed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
A bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) SA Bobde, issued notices to the Centre and State governments seeking their response on the plea filed by a Gitarth Ganga Trust.
The plea sought that the religious places be opened in order to uphold the fundamental rights of the citizens, particularly of the devotees. The plea said the petitioner is concerned for the well-being and spiritual happiness of each and every resident of India.
The petitioner in no way concerns the holding of any religious congregation, but only limited to the rights of devotees confined to the places of worship and that too following the relevant guidelines strictly, the plea said.
"In permitting businesses and commercial activities and prohibiting religious practices the States have weighed the risk of a COVID-19 outbreak with the 'reward" of the value of the business," the petition said.
The petitioner said that since the permissions have been given for opening up of various economic activities, it is discrimination against religious institutions if they are not granted similar permission.
"The prohibition by the States and locking down of places of worship completely does not meet the test of proportionality in administrative action, i.e. complete closure of places of worship is not necessary to meet the objective of fighting the pandemic," the plea said.
"All that is absolutely necessary is that the requisite precautions must be followed which have in fact been laid down by the government," it added. (ANI)