Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Monday granted permission to two Muslim organisations to organise Chehlum mourning processions, one in the city and another in adjoining Thane district, on Tuesday, but with certain riders in view of the coronavirus pandemic.
A bench of Justices Ujjal Bhuyan and Madhav Jamdar permitted the petitioner organizations – the Haidry Jama Masjid Trust and All India Idaara-E-Tahafuz-E-Hussainiyat – to organize the processions while adhering to all applicable COVID-19 safety protocols.
The outfits had approached the court last week for permission to take out processions on the occasion of Chehlum that commemorates the 40th day of the martyrdom of Prophet Mohammed’s grandson, Imam Husain.
The petitioners had approached the HC through advocates Shehzad Naqvi and senior counsel Rajam Shirodkar after the Maharashtra government denied them permission to hold two separate processions, one in Mumbai, and the other in the Thane district.
The state’s counsel, Poornima Kantharia, had opposed the pleas in HC arguing that while the government had no objection to allowing just one procession in a representative capacity in Mumbai for the entire Maharashtra, it had a “serious objection” regarding two separate processions. She argued that if granted permission, several more organizations might seek permission for holding their respective processions.
The HC, however, said that while nothing must undermine the COVID-19 safety protocols implemented by the state and the Centre, another division bench of the court had recently granted permission for Muharram processions. “We have given our thoughtful and anxious consideration to the entire issue before us. While the rights and religious sentiments of the people are to be respected; but at the same time because of the unprecedented pandemic restrictions imposed by the state cutting across all segments of the society are required to be adhered to, failing which it may lead to disastrous consequences which we should try to avoid,” the HC said.
The court then referred to a division bench’s ruling regarding Muharram processions last month. “Having said that we find that a Division Bench of this Court had permitted All India Idara-E-Tahafuz-E-Husainiyat to carry out 5 ‘Tazias’ during Muharrum vide order dated 18th August 2021. “Since the passing of the said order on 18th August 2021, hardly a month has elapsed and we see no reason to depart from the same,” it said. Advocate Naqvi said the HC has permitted both organizations the use of a total of 10 trucks and the participation of a maximum of 150 people in the processions.