Bombay High Court: A Division Bench of S.J. Kathawalla and Madhav J. Jamdar, JJ., permitted the limited conduct of rituals of Muharram with the specified route and other restrictions.

Petitioner states that it is the oldest organization of the Shia Community.

Petitioner sought appropriate writ, order or direction to allow the rituals of Muhurrum to be performed during the present pandemic till 30-08-2020 daily for two hours.

Bench while pronouncing the order stated that since the present order is being passed as and by way of exception, is not intended to be used as precedent by other persons, to seek permissions, to hold any festivals which would involve by their very nature congregation of people.

General Secretary Shri Habib Nasir on behalf of the Shia Community gave the following undertakings:

  • There will be only one Taziya, which will be carried from Zainabia (Bhendi Bazar) Mumbai to Byculla Mazgaon, Shia Cemetry, situated at Mumbai, in the entire State. No other Taziya other than the one mentioned hereinabove will be carried anywhere in the State.
  • Aforestated Taziya will be carried from Zainabia (Bhendi Bazar) Mumbai to Byculla Mazgaon, Shia Cemetry, situated at Mumbai, via J.J. Hospital, Prince Ali Khan Hospital, Sales Tax Office circle in a truck i.e. transport vehicle large enough to accommodate it.
  • In no case whatsoever, any congregation of people at any point from the beginning till the end of the said journey of aforesaid one Taziya will be allowed.
  • One Taziya will be carried along the aforesaid route on Sunday 30th August 2020 from 4.30 p.m. to 5.30 p.m.
  • Not more than five persons will carry the aforesaid one Taziya on a truck, as aforesaid along with one videographer. However, after taking the aforesaid one Taziya down near the graveyard, it will be carried on foot, for a distance of not more than a hundred meter. The names, age and addresses of these five persons will be submitted with the office of the Police Commissioner, Mumbai by 5.00 p.m., on 29th August, 2020.
  • Petitioner and all its members will strictly abide by the rest of the guidelines issued by the Home Department, State of Maharashtra, regarding Muhurrum-2020, dated 19th August, 2020.

Further, the High Court also directed the State Government to impose a restriction over the gathering of people at the appropriate places by issuing appropriate orders including the point where aforesaid Taziya is to start its journey till the point where the journey will end.

To keep the traffic clear and escort the above-stated truck carrying Taziya, one pilot car shall also be provided by the State.

In view of the above, petition was disposed of.

[All India Idaara-E-Tahafuz-E-Hussainiyat v. State of Maharashtra, 2020 SCC OnLine Bom 881, decided on 28-08-2020]

Counsels for petitioner Rajendra Shirodkar, Senior Advocate Asif Naqvi, Jafer Nadeem, Archit Shirodkar i/b. Shehazad Naqvi.

A. A. Kumbhakoni, Advocate General a/w. Purnima Kantharia, Govt. Pleader, Geeta Shastri, Addl. Govt. Pleader, Akshay Shinde, B Panel Counsel for the Respondents.

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