COVID-19 situation not conducive to reopening of temples HC

    Mumbai, Aug 14 (PTI) Observing that the current
situation was "not at all conducive" to reopening of places of
worship, the Bombay High Court on Friday refused to pass any
interim order directing that temples in Maharashtra be opened
for public.
    A bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice P
V Tavade said the COVID-19 situation in the state had not
improved and people must therefore, pray at home.
    The bench was hearing a public interest litigation
filed through advocate Dipesh Siroya seeking that the
Maharashtra government be directed to reopen temples for
    The state government could open temples and allow only
a limited number of worshippers at a time in accordance with
its COVID-19 lockdown guidelines, Siroya argued.
    The bench, however, asked Siroya which temple he
considered personally, to be the "biggest?"
    "The biggest temple is humanity," Siroya said.
    To which, the bench responded saying, "If you have any
love for humanity, do not press for such prayers then."
    "For the love and safety of humanity, pray at home,"
it said.
    The state government pointed out that on August 12, it
had submitted a detailed reply before another bench of the
high court explaining how COVID-19 cases were still on the
rise and that opening temples or any other places of worship
was not feasible currently.
     The state government said it had prohibited public
gatherings for celebrations for Gudi Padwa and Janmashtami,
and people had been asked to pray at home.
     When Siroya pointed out that several other states had
reopened some places of worship, and that the COVID-19
situation in Maharashtra was improving, the bench said, it did
not think the situation had improved.
     "If the situation improves, this temple of justice
will be the first to open its doors to the public. The current
situation is not at all conducive to opening doors (of places
of worship) to the public," it said. PTI AYA

(This story has not been edited by THE WEEK and is auto-generated from PTI)