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Thursday, October 01, 2020

Maharashtra: Opening places of worship not feasible, govt tells HC

A division bench was hearing a PIL seeking directions to the state government to take effective steps to ensure that places of worship are opened while observing coronavirus protocols and permit limited number of devotees at a time to enter temples.

Written by Omkar Gokhale | Mumbai | Updated: September 9, 2020 3:00:30 pm
Bombay HC, BMC, Ganesh Utsav, Mumbai coronavirus lockdown, Temple demolition, Bom bay Hc on temple demolition, Mumbai news, Indian expressSeeking an affidavit with an apology from the BMC, the HC posted further hearing of the matter to September 29. (File)

The Maharashtra government on Tuesday told the Bombay High Court that opening of places of worship, even with due restrictions, ‘was not a practically feasible option’ at this stage in view of rising coronavirus cases in urban and rural areas across the state.

A division bench of Justice A A Sayed and Justice S P Tavade was hearing a PIL by the Association for Aiding Justice, filed through advocate Dipesh Siroya, seeking directions to the state government to take effective steps to ensure that places of worship are opened while observing coronavirus protocols and permit limited number of devotees at a time to enter temples.

On Tuesday, Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni for the state government submitted an affidavit in reply filed through Kishor Raje Nimbalkar, secretary, Disaster Management Department.

The affidavit stated, “The recent Ganesh festival was really an eye-opener. The state had issued guidelines for celebrations and it was expected of citizens to follow the guidelines in true letter and spirit since it is the duty and responsibility of each and every citizen to cooperate with the state during the pandemic.”

However, the state government said that citizens gathered in large numbers in several places including Mumbai and there was overcrowding at markets, even for buying decorations, which would not amount to essential goods.

Kumbhakoni said, “The state contemplated the suggestion by petitioner but decided not to open places of worship as yet because of the rising cases of Covid-19.”

He added, “Allowing opening of places of worship with restrictions is not a practically feasible option at this stage.”

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