Rashid Paul

Muharram Procession: HC asks Admin to consider the issue

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Srinagar: The High Court on Wednesday directed the Commissioner Secretary Home (J&K) to consider a representation of the Shia Muslims seeking permission for taking out a religious procession on the martyrdom day of Imam Hussain (RA), the grandson of the Prophet of Islam (SAW).  

The community allegedly being denied permission for their religious practice by the government for so many years had preferred a public interest petition in the top court of the union territory. It prayed a direction upon the State authorities to allow the Community to take out the religious processions on 8th of this August, the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Hussain, the grandson of the Prophet. 

The petition specified the route of the procession from Guru Bazar to Dalgate Srinagar and sought necessary security for the attendees.

Chief Justice Pankaj Mittal and Justice W S Nargal after hearing the petition however observed “taking out a religious procession especially in Kashmir depends upon the law-and-order situation”. 

The judges further observed that their court is unable to assess the law-and-order situation besides “the involvement of the security of the nation in taking out such religious procession”. 

They held that it is the domain of the administration, the security agencies and other stake holders of the State to take a call on it. They should “form an opinion depending upon the law-and-order situation, religious harmony and security of the nation take a call”, said the bench.

The petitioner community has already submitted a representation to the Commissioner Secretary, Home, on 25th of June for allowing them to perform their religious practice.

D C Raina, the advocate general of J&K, informed the court that Commissioner Secretary will consider the Shiaite representation in light of the observations made by their bench.

The writ petition was accordingly disposed of with a direction to the Commissioner Secretary, Home (or any other competent authority) to consider the representation of the petitioner community most expeditiously preferably within three days.  

The court however put a rider that the Commissioner Secretary (or any other competent authority) should consider the application of the community “after taking inputs to the maintenance of religious harmony and the law-and-order situation from all security agencies of India”.

The advocate general was asked by the court to provide a copy of Wednesday’s proceedings on the matter to the Commissioner Secretary or the other competent authority by evening.

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