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"If we allow this, there will be chaos and one particular community will be targeted for spreading Covid. We don't want that", the Court observed.
The Supreme Court today declined to entertain a petition seeking permission to carry out Muharram processions across the country amid the COVID-19 pandemic and resultant restrictions.
Chief Justice of India SA Bobde, who was on the Bench with Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian, said that a general order of this nature for the entire country cannot be passed by the Court. He said,
CJI SA Bobde
The Bench also noted that the state governments were not arrayed as parties in the plea, and that a general order encompassing the entire country cannot be passed in this matter.
"You are giving Jagannath Puri example, there it was in one place and one set route where the Rath had to be drawn. We could assess the risk involved and pass the specific order for only Puri. In Jain Temple matter, it was for three temples only and five people at a time..."
Had the plea contemplated seeking permission for just one place, it could have been considered after risk assessment of spread of the pandemic. But a general order for the whole country cannot be passed owing to the extraordinary circumstances of the ongoing pandemic, the Court noted.
"We, as a Court, cannot risk the health of all the people."
When the petitioner sought permission for allowing the procession for Lucknow city alone, since a large population of the Shia community resides in the city, the Court directed the petitioner to approach the Allahabad High Court.
Earlier this week, the Supreme Court had asked another petitioner, who sougjt similar prayers, to implead all states as parties in the matter.
During the previous hearing, the Court was informed by counsel for the petitioner, Wasi Haider, that permission was being sought for processions in a limited manner with only five participants, and while ensuring that all other safety norms were followed.