Updated: August 18, 2021 9:05:26 am
The Bombay High Court on Tuesday permitted the holding of a Muharram procession with seven trucks consisting of not more than 15 persons each, including photographers/videographers, between 4 and 7 pm on Friday.
The court said that the total number of persons in 7 trucks should not exceed 100 persons and the height of Taziya should not exceed 6 feet, while the height of Alams in each truck cannot exceed 10 feet. The court also noted that there shall not be any music or band accompanying procession
The court allowed the All India Idara Tahafuz e Hussainiyat, a religious organisation in south Mumbai which through a plea had sought permission for Muharram processions, to take out the Tazia, a replica of the mausoleum of Imam Hussain, by truck only from Bhendi Bazaar to the graveyard in Mazgaon.
The court said that all those who take part in the procession should have received both doses of anti-Covid vaccine and 14 days should have lapsed since the second dose. The court also restricted entry into the cemetery to only 25 out of 100 persons when the procession ends and restricted people from coming on roads following the trucks.
The court directed that details of those participating in the procession be given to the Deputy Commissioner of Police of the concerned area by August 19 afternoon, and that some person with authority from the organisation should help the administration control the situation.
A division bench of Justice K K Tated and Justice P K Chavan was hearing a petition filed by the organisation seeking directions to allow rituals of Muharram while following Covid-19 protocol.
The plea had sought permission for Muharram processions with limited numbers of persons and sought relaxations in the state government’s August 9 decision disallowing the same.
The state government had said that Muharram be observed in a simple manner and processions would not be allowed amid the pandemic.
Senior advocate Rajendra Shirodkar, appearing for the petitioner, submitted that Shia Muslims were seeking permission for a limited number of persons to perform the rituals in south Mumbai and persons having taken a single dose of Covid-19 vaccine also be considered.
Government pleader Purnima H Kantharia opposed the plea and said that in all religious processions, huge numbers of people from various streets gather and police will have to provide forces from all zones, as controlling a crowd and procession is difficult and the same is not advisable during pandemic.
The court while granting permission asked the organisation to give an undertaking to adhere to the state’s Covid-19 guidelines including protocol for physical distancing, failing which action would be taken, and that no other Taziya will be carried out anywhere in the state.
The bench also said that the state government is permitted to impose restrictions on the gathering of people at appropriate places including the starting point of Taziya up to the graveyard under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code. The court also said that the state shall provide an escort and a pilot car for the truck carrying the Taziya to take steps to keep traffic away by clearing the route for the procession.
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