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Bombay HC refuses to interfere in government's decision to not reopen temples

The opposition parties in Maharashtra have been demanding that the places of worship be reopened for the public.

Bombay HC refuses to interfere in government's decision to not reopen temples
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The Bombay High Court has refused to intervene in the Maharashtra government’s decision to not reopen the temples and other places of worship amid the coronavirus pandemic. With this, the reopening of places of worship to the public in Maharashtra is unlikely as the number of COVID-19 cases rises rapidly. 

The opposition parties in Maharashtra have been demanding that the places of worship be reopened for the public. From Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena to Prakash Ambedkar-led Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA), the opposition leaders have supported and participated in the agitations demanding the same. 

A bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice GS Kulkarni said that the court didn’t wish to interfere in the state’s decision to not reopen the places of worship given the current COVID-19 situation. The coronavirus cases have been rising even in rural areas. 

The bench was hearing a petition filed by a local NGO which sought the reopening of places of worship in Maharashtra. The PIL also sought that the state government ensure implementation of social distancing and other safety protocols amid the coronavirus outbreak while also limiting the number of devotees. 

During the previous hearing, the state government had informed that it would be difficult to limit the number of devotees in places of worship if they are allowed to reopen and there’s no guarantee that the social distancing will be followed. 

The HC said that it will not interfere with the state government’s decision to not reopen the places of worship while keeping in mind the current COVID-19 situation. Advocate General (AG) Ashutosh Kumbhakoni submitted that devotees could not be allowed to visit any place of worship as of now. 

Every day a new record of rising coronavirus cases is being created and the reopening of religious places will not be possible, the AG said. During the recent celebrations for Ganeshotsav, it was observed that safety norms were broken in markets. 

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