The Delhi High Court on Thursday allowed fifty people to offer namaaz at the Nizamuddin Markaz mosque five times a day during the ongoing month of Ramzan (Delhi Waqf Board vs UOI & ors)..The devotees would have to strictly abide by the COVID-19 standard operating procedure issued by the authorities last yea, a Single Judge Bench of Justice Mukta Gupta ordered. "This Court directs SHO, PS Nizamuddin to permit 50 persons to perform the namaaz five times a day at Bangle Wali Masjid.." ."Situation is getting grim day by day. But since all religious places are open, this also had to be opened," the Court remarked after it noted that under the April 10 Notification passed by the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA), there was no direction to close religious places/places of worship. .The Court recorded that what was prohibited under the notification were social/ political/ sports/ entertainment/ academic/ cultural/ religious/ festival related and other gatherings and congregations..The order was passed in the petition preferred by the Delhi Waqf Board to re-open the Nizamuddin Markaz which came into limelight after it hosted a Tablighi Jamaat congregation during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic in the city in March 2020. .It was the Waqf Board's grievance that although all religious places outside of containment zones were allowed to be opened in Unlock-1, the mosque remained locked since March last year..The Court observed that the Board had made out a prima facie case to allow devotees to offer prayers in the Markaz mosque. .For now, the permission has only been granted for one floor of the mosque. With regard to the Board's request to open the other three floors of the mosque as well, the Court said that the Board would be at liberty to make an application to the SHO concerned. .While the Senior Counsel for the Board, Ramesh Gupta highlighted that places like cinema halls were now being permitted to function at 30 percent capacity with no cap on number of attendees, the Court remarked, "I don't know. People want infection, that may do it. As a court I cannot allow.".During the course of the hearing, the Central government informed the Court that while Sacred Heart Church was holding Sunday mass through online mode, Kalka Ji Temple was not permitting devotees to attend the aarti. ."People are coming in and going out (for darshan). There is no assembly.", Advocate Rajat Nair for Central government said. .The Court, however, responded, "Are you ready to make a submission that social distancing is being followed?"."This is what I'm being told," Nair stated. Nair submitted that considering the present COVID-19 situation, no congregation of over 50 persons was allowed and meeting were being held by authorities to monitor the situation. ."Situation is becoming graver and graver. Various measures are imposed. Directions are coming day by day.".To arrive at its decision, the Court analysed the previous orders passed by the DDMA and drew a distinction between holding religious and cultural congregations and closing places of worship. .Earlier this week, Central government had told that the High Court that the Nizamuddin Markaz mosque could be made operational for the devotees to offer prayers considering the fact that the month of Ramzan..However, a day later, it told the Court that no gathering or congregation could be permitted there on account of the latest COVID-19 guidelines..The Court had thereafter called for an affidavit from the competent authority on how this direction was being implemented in places including temples, mosques, churches etc. in the national capital..The matter would be heard next on July 16.