By LE Desk

New Delhi, April 15: The Delhi High Court on Thursday permitted 50 people to offer namaz five times a day at the Nizamuddin Markaz during Ramzan, noting there was no direction in the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) notification to close down places of worship.

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

The High Court remarked that there was “no clear stand” from the Central government as to whether religious congregations or gatherings were permitted in other places of worship, The Hindu reported.

“Considering the fact that religious places/places of worship are not closed by the DDMA notification, this court finds that the petitioner (Delhi Waqf Board) has made out a prima facie case for permitting devotees to offer namaz at Masjid Bangley Wali,” the High Court said.

It directed the Station House Officer of the Nizamuddin Police Station to permit entry of 50 people five times a day to offer namaz only on the first floor of the Masjid Bangley Wali.

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

Justice Gupta declined to increase the number of people allowed, or the use of other floors of the mosque for offering prayers, saying “day-by-day situation is getting worse in Delhi”.

The HC, however, clarified that its order would be subject to any notification issued by the DDMA in view of the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in the capital.

The High Court’s direction came while hearing the plea of the Delhi Waqf Board to reopen the Nizamuddin Markaz where the Tablighi Jamaat congregation was held, which has been locked since March 31, 2020.

The Board 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 an attached hostel — continued to be locked up.

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