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State Government to find out possibility of darshan to limited number of persons to Baidhyanath: SC



NISHIKANT DUBEY V. UNION OF INDIA  & ORS. Petition(s) for Special Leave to Appeal (C) No(s). 8716/2020. 31st July 2020.

The bench comprising of HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE ARUN MISHRA ,HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE B.R. GAVAI ,HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE KRISHNA MURARI passed the order regarding the direct the entry of the general public in Baidhyanath Jyotirlinga Temple at Deoghar and Baba Basukinath Temple during the month of Shravan.

The learned counsel appearing for the petitioner has submitted that though activities at the public places and worship places are prohibited in the State Directives, but, at the same time, gatherings related to marriage have been allowed, maintaining social distancing with stipulation that maximum number of persons at gatherings shall not be more than 50 and public transport etc. have also been allowed. As such, the restrictions imposed by the State Government on the entry in the places of worship for public are unwarranted

Mr. Salman Khurshid, learned senior counsel appearing with Mr. Tapesh Kumar Singh, Additional Advocate General, appearing for the State of Jharkhand, has attracted our attention to the orders issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs on 29.07.2020 and the Directives issued pursuant thereto by Government of Jharkhand on 30.07.2020 in which the restrictions, previously imposed, have been extended till 31.08.2020.

This hon’ble court was not happy with the situation that thousands of pandas are being permitted entry in the temple every day. This cannot be said to be very conducive situation so as to prevent the spread of virus Covid19. Entry of such large number of pandas, as alleged, should not be permitted. Same is required to be regulated and only limited number of persons as may be permissible as per social distancing norms should be permitted to enter the temple premises. When State Government is prohibiting the entry of general public completely and there is not even online booking permitted of few persons of general public to enter the temple premises, so that they could have darshan from the distance. The court felt that State and Trust should have made an arrangement for regulated entries of pandas while maintaining social distancing.

The court was shown a video by the learned counsel appearing on behalf of the petitioner that large number of pandas were there at the same time in the sanctum sanctorum during the month of Shravan. Let State Government and the Temple Trust make an arrangement that no large congregation takes place even of pandas in the temple premises and Garbh Grih. It is absolutely necessary in order to prevent the spread of Covid19 infection. The State Government to ensure that only limited number of persons, maintaining social distancing, be that they are pandas and priests of the temple, enter the premises at the same time in the temple premises which may be permissible as per the social distancing norms issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs.

In the circumstances, when the court find that large number of pandas are being permitted every day and even otherwise the State Government ought to have permitted systematically at least few hundred numbers of general public on the basis of online booking, giving them different timings of darshan, so that large congregation does not take place and maintaining social distancing for darshans at important festivals of the year but State has not done it so far and only two days are left from the final day of the Shravan month.

At the same time, the court find that restrictions imposed by the High Court for entire months of Shravan and Bhado was also not proper. It should have been left at the discretion of the State Government, if Government can make an arrangement to permit restricted entry of general public in the temple maintaining social distancing. The High Court ought not to have directed that no entry should be permitted in the months of Shravan and Bhado.

It is basically for the State Government to take a call on this. It would not be appropriate to issue directions to provide the entry. However,the court request the State Government to find out a possibility for darshan, which ought to have been done for general public as is being done in Ujjain, an another Jyotirligam. The court are informed that in Ujjain, 300 persons are being allowed on the basis of prior online booking, giving them different timings. Let the State Government work out on this and if possible, to permit darshan on the day of Purnima and in the month of Bhado also. The court directed consideration not only for the temple but in all such religious places whether it be Churches or Mosques, entry of limited number of persons/devotees should have been allowed as is being done throughout India. The State cannot shirk from its responsibility to enforce the social distancing norms, particularly when there is opening up of such places throughout the world.

As State Government has to make proper arrangements, the court refrain from issuing a direction to the State Government, however, The court earnestly request them to find out a possibility of limited entry of general public in temples, churches and mosques in the State. If not outside State, at least the person from within the State as is being done at some other places. The court observe that State is duty bound to enforce social distancing norms on such important occasions/festivals. Let an effort be made by the State Government to find out possibility of darshan to limited number of persons which would be appreciated.


View/ Download the Order :NISHIKANT DUBEY V. UNION OF INDIA  & ORS.


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Karthik K.P (School of Law, SASTRA Deemed to be University)


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