The Bombay High Court on Friday permitted 58 Jain temples in Mumbai and three in Pune and Nashik to home deliver special food consumed by the community while fasting during the annual nine-day Ayambil Oli Tap. A division bench of Justices S C Gupte and Abhay Ahuja, however, made it clear that under no circumstances is any devotee allowed to go to temples during the fasting period, which will commence on April 19 and end on April 27.
The bench was hearing petitions filed by two Jain trusts, that run 58 Jain temples in Mumbai, seeking permission for members of the community to take away parcels of pious boiled food to be consumed during the fast from the premises of the trusts. The trusts’ advocate Prafulla Shah argued that they are not asking for temples or dining halls to be opened for people to come and eat there, but only for food parcels to be taken by people.
Additional government pleader Jyoti Chavan, while opposing the plea, said the system of collecting food parcels cannot be allowed, as people may crowd temples. The bench had on Thursday suggested home delivery of the pious food through a team of volunteers.
Both the petitioners and the state government agreed to this, as the government order of April 13 titled ‘Break the Chain’ allowed restaurants and bars to home deliver food. Considering that the state government has permitted restaurants and other food joints to cater to the public through home delivery services, it would be clearly in the interest of justice to allow the petitioners to deliver the pious cooked food to the homes of the devotees, the bench said.
The court said home deliveries can be done by a team of volunteers, not more than seven persons, and said all other safety norms should be adhered to by people cooking the food and those delivering it. During the Ayambil Oli Tap, the Jain community consumes boiled food of a particular kind that is cooked without any spices.