Petition seeks leave to offer Namaz at August Kran



Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Thursday asked a top officer of Cultural Affairs Department of Maharashtra Government to decide afresh a petition filed by a city resident seeking permission to allow people to offer Namaz during Bakra Eid on August 27 at the historic August Kranti Maidan in South Mumbai.

The petition had been rejected by Directorate of Archaeology and Museum which said that the ground could be given for only historical event of national importance. Since Namaz is for religious purpose and not historical, such a request cannot be considered, the authorities contended.

Being aggrieved, the petitioner moved the Bombay High Court through lawyer Amin Solkar.

A bench of Justice A M Khanwilkar and Justice R Y Ganoo today asked Deputy Secretary of Culture Kishore Kulkarni to consider afresh on merits the petition filed by Omar Abdul Jabbar Gopalani seeking permission to allow people to offer Namaz at August Kranti Maidan during Bakra Eid this year.

The petitioner contended that since last 50 years there was a practice of offering Namaz at the August Kranti Maidan twice a year during Ramzan and Bakra Eid. However, this year the permission had been refused.

Government pleader objected saying the petitioner had approached the authorities at a short notice, only one day prior to the festival. Moreover, he had no locus standi, he said.

Petitioner's lawyer pleaded that they were relying upon a 2006 judgement of the Bombay High Court passed by Justice A M Khanvilkar in which section 37(a) allows use of public grounds for events of national historical importance as well as for religious purpose.

The authorities had not considered the aspect of religious purpose while rejecting the application of the petitioner, he argued.

The Court therefore asked the authorities to consider the petitioner's plea afresh on merits.

PTI