MUMBAI: Bombay high court on Thursday directed the secretary, disaster management, to decide on a representation by two Jain trusts for reopening temples in the city during five days of Diwali from Dhanteras to Bhai Beej.
A bench headed by Justice Shahrukh Kathawalla heard an application by Shri Atma Kamal Labdi Surishwarji Jain Gyan Mandir Trust and Sheth Motisha Religious and Charitable Trust in a pending petition to reopen temples. They sought relief for Jain temples from November 13-17 — 6 am to 1pm and 6 pm to 9 pm.
The trusts’ advocate, Praful Shah, argued that “now the state has opened up malls, permitted bars and restaurants with 50% capacity, and yesterday theatre and swimming pools.” Government pleader Poornima Kantharia opposed the plea saying, “Tomorrow, other Hindus will ask for their temples to be opened… How will we control the crowds?”
But Justice Kathawalla asked, “How many restaurants are there in Maharashtra? How many bars? They are more than temples.” Kantharia said there are SOPs for bars and restaurants. “Very cautiously and carefully it is opened up,” she added.
Since the trusts’ representation is pending with the secretary, the judges directed him to hear the petitioners on Friday and submit his report to the court on Tuesday.