On Thursday, the Supreme Court denied permission to conduct Muharram processions around the country. As the date for Muharram approaches, the court head a plea today seeking permission to carry out the traditions of the sacred day.
With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Supreme Court has denied permission to petitioners to hold the procession. The apex court said that it could lead to a community being 'targeted for the spread of the virus'.
Supreme Court won't allow Muharram processions
2020 has been tough on religious holidays and observances, across faiths. As the date for Muharram approaches on August 29th, considerations are being made on how the traditions will be carried out.
Muharram a day of mourning observed by many in the Islamic faith, includes a tradition of processions. These processions take place across cities and is a common practice observed every year on the day.
This year, there will be no such procession. On Thursday a bench of CJI SA Bode, and Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramaniun heard a plea seeking permission for Muharram processions despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Chief Justice said, "Cannot grant general directions & cannot expose you to that risk. We cannot give general directions. Case different from Puri or Jain temples as they had "identified areas of access."
When the petitioner asked for permission to hold a procession in Lucknow, the bench asked the petitioner to approach the Allahabad High Court. The CJI added, "Granting general permissions for the whole country to take out Muharram procession will lead to chaos. A whole community may be targeted for spreading the virus."
The permission was denied despite asking for the procession to be conducted with limited capacity. The tradition of the procession is an age-old practice, however, COVID-19 couldn't be preempted.
This year, public performances in festivals, auspicious days and the like have been less than limited. During tough times people have had to come up with new traditions and new ways to observe a festival while ensuring social distancing. The new normal may not be the one we want, but it's what we've got.