Reply to plea on opening Nizamuddin centre: HC

Tablighi centre has been locked since March 31 last year

The Delhi High Court on Friday gave the Centre two weeks’ time to respond to a petition to open the Tablighi Jamaat’s Nizamuddin centre, or markaz, which has been locked since March 31 last year after several people who attended a religious congregation there contracted COVID-19.

Justice Mukta Gupta remarked that the Centre had not filed any reply in the petition filed by the Delhi Waqf Board. “Do you want to file or not?,” the High Court asked while clarifying that a status report filed by the Centre was on the limited issue of reopening the Tablighi Jamaat centre for the month of Ramzan. The court will hear the case again on September 13.

On April 15, the High Court had permitted 50 people to offer namaz five times a day at the centre during Ramzan, noting there was no direction in the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) notification to close down places of worship.

Justice Gupta had then said that namaz be offered on “first floor above the basement” of the mosque, and “strictly in accordance” with the DDMA’s April 10 notification and other standard operating protocols.

Safety paramount

“Devotees require to perform namaz five times a day during the holy month of Ramzan but at the same time, care has to be taken that COVID-19—which is increasing exponentially in Delhi—does not spread and affect the health of the public at large and those who visit the mosque to offer namaz,” the court had said.

The board, in its plea, has contended that even after unlock-1 guidelines permitted religious places outside containment zones to be opened, the markaz —comprising the Masjid Bangley Wali, Madarsa Kashif-ul-uloom and attached hostel — continues to be locked.

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