New Delhi [India], September 7 (ANI): A petition has been moved in the Delhi High Court seeking direction to the state government to consider permitting visitors at religious places subject to strict compliance with COVID-19 protocols.
The petition was filed by the Distress Management Collective, a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), based in Delhi-NCR providing support and humanitarian aid to anyone in distress across borders.
In its petition filed through advocates Robin Raju and Deepa Joseph, the organisation sought to direct the respondents Delhi Government and Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) to consider permitting visitors in religious places in Delhi subject to strict compliance of COVID-19 protocols, and alternatively, direct the respondent to take necessary action on representation dated July 25, 2021, of the petitioner.
The petitioner has filed the petition after perusing the recent order dated July 24, 2021, of the DDMA that has unlocked the city to a massive extent and permitted all the markets, market complexes and malls to open. Restaurants and bars have been allowed to operate up to 50 per cent of their seating capacity. Cinemas, theatres, multiplexes have been allowed to open up to 50 per cent of their seating capacity.
"This prolonged prohibition on visitors from going to religious places has become a matter of distress for not just religious leaders but to the believers at large.
The petitioner organisation was constrained to move the instant petition as it had received numerous grievances from both the clergy and laity regarding the issue of prohibition of visitors in religious places, even after unlocking almost all those centres where usually throngs gather," the petition said.
The petition also pointed there were also no reports nor studies that indicate that religious places had flouted the COVID protocols and were one of the hotspots from where COVID spread.
The petitioner highlighted that according to the news reports during the pandemic, especially during the second wave, the religious places and the managing committees of worship places played a proactive role to reach out to the affected and needy by either organizing oxygen langars or setting up quarantine centres, However, these are the places are not allowed to run as per the said order, the petition said.
The petitioner said that the respondents by continuing to prohibit visitors from religious places, that too when the number of COVID cases in Delhi has remarkably come down, give an impression that they see religious places solely as places of worship and not a necessity. "It is herein pertinent to mention that religious places are also institutions that provide mental solace to people at large.
"The spiritual guidance and counselling from the religious leaders and interaction with other believers give mental strength and relief amid these uncertain and challenging times," said the plea.
"It is an undeniable fact that a person will get the above-said experience only by visiting their desired religious place of worship (in respective of their faith or religion they practice).
An online worship service will never be able to provide the same experience when compared with a worship service where believers are physically present at the place of worship," read the petition. (ANI)