Plea in Kerala HC to open churches with 25% occupancy amid lockdown
A believer moved the Kerala High Court on Friday with a plea to open churches for prayers with minimum occupancy during the lockdown. In his plea, he said, churches can be opened with 25% occupancy and he contended that the long lockdown is leaving a spiritual vacuum among devotees.
The petitioner Saju Joseph pleaded that since most norms were eased in the state, regulated visits of devotees to churches could be allowed. Hearing the plea, the court observed that the state was yet to come out of the pandemic threat and many churches are providing virtual offerings these days.
Justice Shaji P Chaly who was heading the division bench said no devotee was affected by the closure as he could access visuals of ceremonies online.
But the counsel for the petitioner contended that devotees can’t receive ‘holy communion’ due to the closure of churches.
Continued closure of religious places of worship is leaving a spiritual vacuum among believers and they can be opened after adhering to social distancing norms. He also suggested that each church can carry 25% of its occupancy to suit this.
But both, the Union and state governments, opposed the plea vehemently saying no relaxation can be made at this juncture. They said any concessions to a particular sect will open a floodgate and weaken the strict lockdown norms.
Big religious gatherings, private parties, wedding ceremonies, political meetings and receptions can’t be allowed now, they said.
The court later adjourned the hearing till May 18.