Allahabad: The Allahabad High Court on Monday allowed a petition seeking permission for a religious gathering at an Imambada in Varanasi, saying the local police will not create any hindrance and the organisers will ensure compliance of COVID-19 guidelines. A bench comprising justices SK Gupta and Pankaj Bhatia passed the order on a petition filed by Waqf Imambada Masjid Meer Imam Ali Mehdi Begum.
The petitioner had claimed that the district authorities had permitted the Majlis, to be held from September 30 to October 9, at the Imambada but the police were not allowing it. The petitioner alleged that the Shia Waqf Board vide a letter dated August 21, 2020 had requested the district administration that suitable police arrangements be made to enable the Majlis, which was a regular event, to be held without any hindrance.
The permission for Majlis was also granted. However, the local police were not allowing the religious gathering, the plea said. The advocate appearing for the petitioner argued that “Unlock-4 Guidelines provide for a congregation of up to 100 persons in respect of the religious gathering".
Therefore, “restraining the petitioner, without any valid reasons from holding the congregation is a violation of Article 19 (1) and Article 25 of the Constitution of India which guarantees freedom to assemble peacefully as well as the freedom to practice religion", the lawyer said. The court, while allowing the petition, directed the local police not to create any hindrance in holding of the Majlis, subject to the petitioner ensuring the compliance of coronavirus guidelines and maintenance of social distancing norms and other restrictions like wearing of masks and sanitization during the religious gathering.
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