A day after the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) announced the ban on Christmas and New Year-related gatherings and congregations in the nation’s capital, a petition was filed on Thursday in Delhi’s High Court to challenge the prohibition.
The petition, which calls for permission to hold church services for Christmas and New Years, is expected to be heard on Friday.
The petition filed by Kamlesh Jacob and Jacob Oommen maintains that the authorities have allowed bars, restaurants and auditoriums to operate at 50% of their capacity and theaters at 100% of their capacity but “religious gatherings completely banned”, in violation of article 14 of the Constitution as well as the right to freedom of religion.
âAll devotees of Christianity who have endured Lent in the past 25 days have been banned in Delhi from attending chapel masses on Christmas Eve, but citizens are allowed to hold gala dinners, activities sales and purchases, etc. at Christmas. The selective exclusion of places of religious worship is in violation of constitutional principles, âargues the plea filed by lawyer Manoj V George and others.
The DDMA, in an order issued Thursday, said that since all social, political, sporting, entertainment, cultural, religious, festival-related gatherings and congregations are completely banned, district magistrates and DCPs will ensure that no cultural event, gathering, congregation place to celebrate Christmas or New Year at NCT Delhi.
Declaring that Christmas is the only holiday celebrated by Christians in all states of India, the petition argues that it should be allowed in Delhi subject to compliance with the Covid protocols listed for restaurants, bars, auditoriums and theaters. The petition further states that chapels and churches had remained closed for more than two years and only fully opened now, with the impression that Christmas Eve would serve as a fresh start.
âIt is pointed out that Christians across the NCT received Christmas invitations and arrangements from their respective churches after two years, and that restricting their right to attend Christmas Masses under the pretext of a Christmas gathering would be contrary. in Articles 25 and 26 of the Constitution â, we read in the petition.