The Delhi High Court on Monday allowed the mosque inside Nizamuddin Markaz to open for prayers during Ramzan, subject to the Delhi Disaster Management Authority’s coronavirus-related guidelines. The Indian Express reported.
The court rejected the Centre’s submission that only 20 worshippers be permitted inside the premises at a time, out of a list of 200 verified by the police, according to The Indian Express. “It is an open place,” Justice Mukul Gupta said, according to the newspaper. “They don’t have to have a fixed [number of] devotees when no other religious place has [restrictions].
The Nizamuddin Markaz has been closed since March last year, PTI reported. A Tablighi Jamaat congregation that took place at the venue was blamed for thousands of coronavirus infections around the country in the initial weeks of the nationwide lockdown which began on March 25. The Tablighi Jamaat is a Sunni Muslim sect with followers in over 80 countries.
The Delhi Waqf Board had appealed to the High Court to ease restrictions on the premises.
Rajat Nair, the Centre’s lawyer, told the court that a list of 200 devotees could be submitted to the police. On the other hand, the Delhi Waqf Board’s lawyer Ramesh Gupta argued that it would be difficult to make such a list. Gupta also told the court that the devotees would adhere to the safety protocols.
The Delhi High Court said that the mosque must be inspected on Monday to ascertain how many worshippers could offer namaz at the place while following physical distancing rules. The court asked the authorities to submit a report on this. It will hear the case on Tuesday.
In August, the Bombay High Court had dismissed the first information reports filed against 29 foreigners booked for allegedly violating the conditions of their tourist visa by attending the Tablighi Jamaat congregation. The court, while hearing a plea filed by the foreign nationals, noted that they had been made scapegoats.
In June, the Centre had blacklisted over 2,500 Tablighi members and prohibited their entry into the country for 10 years. The action was taken after several state governments submitted information on those who had been accused of illegally living in mosques and seminaries.