Centre’s U-Turn In Delhi High Court Over Prayers At Markaz

The Delhi Waqf Board had told the court that it would be difficult to draw up a list of 200.

New Delhi:

A day after agreeing to allow devotees into the Nizamuddin Markaz in Delhi during Ramzan, the Centre, in a turnaround, told the Delhi High Court that all religious gatherings have been banned under new disaster management rules in the capital.

The case involves the Masjid Bangley Wali in Nizamuddin in south Delhi, which has been shut since March last year after a case was registered over a gathering of the Tablighi Jamaat sect held at a time coronavirus cases had started rising in India.

The High Court is hearing a petition by the Delhi Waqf Board requesting that the restrictions be eased to allow people to pray inside the Markaz.

On Monday, the court had reacted sharply to the Centre’s statement that only 20 people can be allowed to enter the complex for prayers at a time from a list of 200 people verified by the police.

“In your notifications, have you curtailed the gathering to 20 at a time for religious places,” the court questioned amid controversy over massive crowds at the Mahakumbh Mela in Uttarakhand’s Hardwar in defiance of Covid rules.

The court also asked the Centre to state its new stand on banning all religious, political, academic, social and sports gatherings in an affidavit.

The Delhi Waqf Board had told the court that it would be difficult to draw up a list of 200.

The court said the mosque did not need a fixed number of devotees when no other place of religious worship does.

“A 200-people list is not acceptable, that cannot be,” the court said.

Yesterday, the Centre changed its argument and referred to the Delhi Disaster Management Act guidelines stopping all religious gatherings. The rules apply only to Delhi.


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