Hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by a Chennai resident seeking to direct the Tamil Nadu government to reopen religious places of worship including temples, churches and mosques by maintaining social distancing norms, the Madras High Court said a decision will be taken on May 15.
The case came up for hearing before Vineeth Kothari and Pushpa Sathyanarayana, when the petitioner argued that the devotees will stand in the queue while maintaining social distancing and generally, devotees visiting the temple are well-behaved.
Social activist RK Jaleel of Thirumangalam, Chennai, who filed the petition said the state government allowed the functioning of liquor shops which wasnâ€™t a necessity for human life but failed to provide permission to open religious institutions that give hope and peace to the people.
For the people who have lost peace due to the uncertain situation and the financial crunch, the temples will act as a place for providing calmness, the petition said. Muslims are also finding it difficult during the Ramzan month as there are restrictions from performing many prayers, it said.
Therefore, the petitioner urged the Madras High Court to direct the state government to reopen religious places of worship.
The nationwide lockdown was imposed in the country to contain the spread of coronavirus infection on March 24. The lockdown was extended twice and the third phase of the lockdown is set to end on May 17. The Tamil Nadu government announced relaxations on March 4 for red zone (non-containment) and green and orange zone areas.
The Tamil Nadu government further relaxed the lockdown on Monday by allowing partial functioning of tea shops, private offices and petrol bunks. Schools, colleges, religious institutions, malls and other places of public congregation continue to be closed.