Bombay HC
Bombay HC
File Photo

Mumbai: Observing that it cannot allow any religious place to open in the prevailing circumstances, the Bombay High Court on Friday allowed the Jain Community to distribute pious boiled food to observe its nine days holy Ayambil, through delivery volunteers. The HC said the food, which is only boiled, can only he delivered at the door steps of Jain Community across the city and no devotee, in any circumstance, must go near any of the 58 temples.

A bench of Justices Suresh Gupte and Abhay Ahuja said that for all the 58 temples, seven volunteers each, would be roped in by the community to deliver the food. The judges added that the community can also request professional delivery agencies or even Mumbai's Dabbawallas to deliver the pious food.

"Considering that state has already allowed hotels and other food joints to sell or distribute food through delivery volunteers or professional aggregators, it would be clearly in the interest of justice if the community is allowed to deliver the pious boiled food through home delivery," Justice Gupte said in his orders.

To the prayer of the two trusts - Lady Kikabai Ayambil Trusts and Labdhisurishwarji Jain Gyanmandir Trust, that they be allowed to open at least the dining halls of their temples so that the devotees can come and take away the parcel pious food, the bench said it won't relax the SOPs issued by the state government on April 13 regarding religious places.

"It is not possible to open any temples for worship by devotees," Justice Gupte observed.

"No devotee to enter any temple in any situation. Also, the names of volunteers who would distribute food to be given to local police stations," the judges added.

Similar relief is granted for one such temple in Pune and two in Nashik districts.

This comes after the trust through its advocate P Shah argued that since the state has already allowed food joints to sell food, the community cannot be denied a similar relief.

To buttress his case, Shah cited an order passed last year by a bench of Justice Shahrukh Kathawalla allowing the community to give parcels to the devotees from their temples's dining halls.

At this, state counsel Jyoti Chavan pointed out that the situation then was different and the prevailing circumstances are worst.

"We have taken a conscious decision. We are facing a worst situation than last year," Chavan submitted.

"If today we permit this community what will happen about other religions? They will come with their own prayers then. We must have equal parameters for all religions," Chavan argued.

She further said that all the religions must respect humanity and support the state in protection human lives.

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