SC plea seeks re-opening of religious places of all faiths

New Delhi: A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking the re-opening of religious places of all faiths across the country, which have remained closed or restricted for access due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The petition, filed by a Gitarth Ganga Trust on Saturday, said 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 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.

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it said that since permissions have been given for opening up of various economic activities, it is discrimination against religious institutions if they are not granted similar permission.

“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 further said.

“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. 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.

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