Allowing Muharram procession government’s prerogative: High Court

Asks admin to take call in 3 days on Shia body’s plea
 J&K High Court, Srinagar
J&K High Court, SrinagarMubashir Khan/GK File

Srinagar: The High Court of J&K and Ladakh Wednesday left it for the government to decide on the Muharram procession from Guru Bazaar to Dalgate here even as it said it was the “domain of the administration, security agencies, and other stakeholders to take a call on it”.

The practice of taking out Muharram processions in the City Centre remains banned since 1989.

Seeking its intervention, a registered trust of the Shia community of Srinagar through its Secretary Aga Syed Mujtaba Abass had filed a Public Interest Litigation before the court for allowing the Shia community to take out the religious processions especially on the 8th of Muharram from Guru Bazaar to Dalgate.

The trust had also sought to provide necessary security for the procession.

“Taking out the religious procession, especially in Kashmir depends upon the law and order situation,” a bench of Chief Justice Pankaj Mithal and Justice Wasim Sadiq Nargal said.

“This court is unable to assess the law and order situation as well as the involvement of the security of the nation in taking out such a religious procession. It is the domain of the administration and security agencies and other stakeholders to take a call on it and to form an opinion depending upon the law and order situation, religious harmony, and security of the nation.”

While the court pointed out that the petitioner had filed a representation in this regard to the Commissioner Secretary, Home, on June 25 this year, Advocate General D C Raina submitted that the Commissioner Secretary would consider the representation in light of the observations made by the court.

“Given the aforesaid facts and circumstances, we dispose of this writ petition with a direction to the Commissioner Secretary, Home, or any other competent authority to consider the representation of the petitioner most expeditiously preferably within three days as the month of Muharram has started,” the court said.

The court directed the Commissioner Secretary or any other competent authority to consider the representation after taking input on the maintenance of religious harmony and the law and order situation from all security agencies.

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