The Delhi Police on Thursday informed the Delhi High Court that it will give permission for the reopening of Nizamuddin Markaz to enable devotees to offer prayers during Ramzan after it remained shut since March 2020 when a Tablighi Jamaat congregation was held amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The Delhi Police lawyer said this before Justice Jasmeet Singh, who will hear on April 1 the application by Delhi Waqf Board seeking to open the mosque during Shab-e-Barat and Ramzan. The application was filed in the Board's 2021 petition which sought the reopening of the premises on the ground that even after unlock-1 guidelines permitted religious places outside containment zones to be opened, the Markaz — comprising the Masjid Bangle Wali, Madarsa Kashif-ul-Uloom, and attached hostel — continues to be locked up.
On March 16, the high court had allowed the reopening of three floors of Nizamuddin Markaz for Shab-e-Barat subject to various conditions. The high court had earlier asked the petitioner, represented through advocate Waqeeh Shafiq, to file an application before the SHO of Hazrat Nizamuddin Police Station seeking permission to open the other three floors of Nizamuddin Markaz to enable devotees to offer prayers during the two occasions. In a letter addressed to the petitioner, the Delhi Police said that opening of the mosque would be permitted on the same terms and conditions which were laid down by the high court while permitting offering of prayers there for the occasion of Shab-e-Barat. In the communication, the police also asked the Board to re-install missing CCTV cameras at the entrance of the premises and put up a notice board specifying the conditions for the entrance of foreign devotees. It had removed the restriction of 100-person limit on one floor and said it has been agreed that the management of the mosque will ensure that COVID-19 protocols and social distancing will be followed while allowing devotees to enter the mosque to offer namaz. The senior lawyers for the petitioner and the managing committee of the mosque had then highlighted that Delhi Police remained silent on the arrangement to made during Ramzan. The Delhi Police lawyer had stated that the modalities for Ramzan would be worked out after Shab-e-barat.
The central government, in its affidavit, opposed full re-opening of the Nizamuddin Markaz and stated that only a few people may be allowed to offer prayers on certain religious occasions. The counsel for the Delhi Waqf Board argued that the mosque, which is under the lock of Delhi Police, should be opened as the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) has now lifted all restrictions that were imposed on account of the pandemic. Several FIRs were registered under the Epidemic Diseases Act, the Disaster Management Act, the Foreigners Act and various provisions of the penal code in connection with the Tablighi Jamaat event held at the Nizamuddin Markaz and the subsequent stay of foreigners there during the COVID-19 lockdown in 2020.