Religious activities via loudspeakers restricted in UP: Govt to HC
The Uttar Pradesh government on Monday submitted before Allahabad high court that religious activity of any religious group through loudspeaker was restricted across the state in view of the ongoing lockdown imposed to check spread of Covid-19.
The submission was made while the court was hearing via videoconference a public interest litigation (PIL) petition filed by Ghazipur MP Afzal Ansari in which it was alleged that the district administration had banned azaan (call to prayer) in Ghazipur.
In this regard, the affidavit filed by additional chief secretary, home, Awanish Awasthi clarified that Ghazipur district had been declared a corona hotspot, hence as per the guidelines issued by union ministry of home affairs on March 24, 2020 certain restrictions were imposed. “Since ‘azaan’ is made on a loudspeaker, it has been restricted in Ghazipur,” he stated in the affidavit.
Keeping the counter affidavit filed on behalf of the state government on record, a division bench comprising chief justice Govind Mathur and justice Ajit Kumar directed to hear this matter on May 5 (Tuesday) through videoconferencing.
As per additional advocate general (AAG) Manish Goyal, the petitioner’s allegation of violation of fundamental right of religious freedom has been specifically responded by stating that Article 25 of the Constitution, which gives fundamental right to freedom of religion, provides that it is subject to public order, morality and health.
In the PIL, the MP had alleged that all of a sudden from April 24 onwards it was found that azaan from mosques was prohibited by local administration and police and that if anyone dared to make azaan, they would be booked under National Security Act.
In light of this, the MP requested the court to allow azaan by only one person i. e. ‘muezzin’ (the person appointed at mosques for making call to prayers) from the respective mosques within the district.