On Thursday (September 24, 2020), the High Court of Judicature at Bombay refused to interfere in the State Government’s decision of not opening the places of worship to the public in view of increasing COVID cases in the state.
The observation came into view after Advocate General Aushtosh Kumbhakoni pronounced that worshippers would not be allowed to visit temples or any other place of worship yet. "Unfortunately, we are creating new records every day (of the number of positive coronavirus cases). It will not be right to open places of worship considering the situation,” AG mentioned. After which the Bench comprising of Hon’ble CJ Dipankar Datta and Justice G S Kulkarni presented their views and said the court did not wish to interfere in the state’s decision keeping in mind the “prevailing situation” of increasing cases in the rural areas.
Earlier, a PIL was filed seeking that places of worship be reopened to the public and that the state government ensure implementation of prevention norms for safety. The state had mentioned it would not be possible to limit the number of devotees and that there was but that would not grantee that the public would follow norms once allowed inside the place of worship. Hon’ble Chief Justice accepted the state’s submission and accepted that the rise in COVID cases is indeed alarming. Chief Justice mentioned, “Every day we are reading about the rise in numbers. It is alarming. We get so many messages saying that the situation in the state is bad”. He further said that a WhatsApp video from one Omprakash Shete, who claim to be the Chief Minister’s Medical Assistance Cell, claimed that the medical infrastructure in the state was inadequate to handle the Pandemic situation and said several people were dying due to lack of medical facilities. “He claims that the system in the state is collapsing. That people are not getting treatment and are dying. If this is true then something needs to be done,” Hon’ble CJ said.