The Bombay High Court on Friday granted permission for a Muharram procession in the city with stringent restrictions in place in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A bench of Justices S J Kathawalla and Madhav Jamdar permitted after the Maharashtra government granted hearing to a local Shia Muslim organisation that had petitioned the court seeking permission for a symbolic procession for Muharram amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The state government and the petitioner, All India Idaara-E-Tahafuz-E-Hussainiyat, reached an agreement and informed the court of the same on Friday, following which, the court granted permission for the procession.
As per the court’s order, members of the Shia Muslim community will be permitted to carry out the procession on August 30, between 4.30 pm and 5.30 pm on one pre-determined route only by trucks and not on foot.
Maximum of five persons will be allowed on a truck and only five will be permitted walk with the ‘Tazia’ symbol for the last 100 meters on the selected route, the order stated.
The five participants of the procession will have to give their home addresses to the Mumbai police beforehand, the court said.
The court also directed the state government to impose all necessary restrictions, including section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code [CrPC] if required, to control crowds and manage the procession.
Let us tell you, in its plea filed through advocates Rajendra Shirodkar, Shahzad and Asif Naqvi, the petitioner organization had argued that if the state government allowed the immersion of Ganesh idol along with health safeguards, it must also permit the Muharram mourning procession.
The bench on Thursday had said if the organisation was asking for something similar to what was allowed for Ganpati festival then the state could not deny it permission, as it would amount to “discrimination”.
As per today’s order, the procession will be taken out from Bhendi Bazaar to the Shia cemetery in Byculla in the city.