Chennai – The permission sought by the District Convenor of the Shriram Janma Bhoomi Theertha Kshethra Trust to conduct an awareness campaign about the Ram temple, through his van in Madurai was denied citing COVID-19. Justice R Hemalatha, however, pointed out that permission could have been given to conduct the awareness programme, with certain COVID-19 safety restrictions.
- She observed, “It is pertinent to point out that “Shriram is very close to the heart of the religious sentiments of Hindus and when people are allowed inside the movie halls, malls and other public places stipulating the basic safety measures like wearing masks and using hands sanitizer, I do not find any reason to validate the official stance taken by the second respondent in this matter”.
- While the Government had granted permission to conduct various social and political events, the petitioner’s 13th February representation was rejected by the ACP, citing the present COVID-19 situation and also a law and order problem. The petitioner’s vehicle (van) was also restrained by the Police.
- The Additional Public Prosecutor defended the ACP’s decision by submitting before Court that he does not have jurisdiction over all wards of Madurai and that he is not empowered to grant permission in the matter. Justice Hemalatha added that if the ACP thought he did not have the power, he should have forwarded the petitioner’s representation to the Commissioner of Police instead of rejecting the permission.