New Delhi [India], July 31 (ANI): The Supreme Court on Friday upheld the Jharkhand High Court's order and refused to give permission to hold the annual Shravani Mela at Baidyanath Temple in Deogarh due to COVID-19 pandemic.
A bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra was hearing a plea filed by BJP MP Nishikant Dubey challenging the July 3 order of Jharkhand High Court denying permission for holding the annual Shravani Mela at the Baidyanath Temple with requisite precautions.
The top court refused to stay the Jharkhand High Court's order, however, observed that the state government may consider opening places of worship as well when the lockdown restrictions are lifted from the State.
"This suggestion of opening temples, when a lockdown is eased, must be in sync with social distancing norms and other precautionary guidelines," the Bench observed.
The High Court has directed the state government to facilitate virtual prayers for devotees. It said that priests will perform prayers at the temple which devotees can watch virtually.
During the hearing, the Apex Court asked the State government whether Darshan can be allowed whilst adhering to social distancing norms.
"This e-Darshan is no darshan. Why not allow darshan on a limited basis?" asked the Bench.
Senior advocate Salman Khurshid, appearing for the State government, contended that the Jharkhand government had decided to close all temples and mosques and that there was no question of opening darshan due to the increasing number of COVID-19 cases.
He further said that lockdown is imposed in Jharkhand till August 31 and revoking this order just 2 days before the Mela will create chaos.
The state government expressed difficulty in opening the temple for darshan. (ANI)