The Bombay High Court on Wednesday allowed Bombay Parsi Panchayat's plea seeking directions to allow members of the Parsi community to offer prayers for their dear departed ones at the Doongerwadi Tower Of Silence in South Mumbai's Malabar Hill area, on September 3 between 7 am and 4:30 pm after an undertaking by the petitioners that all social distancing norms and guidelines issued by the State and Centre will be followed.
The division bench of Justice RD Dhanuka and Justice Madhav Jamdar heard a writ petition filed by Viraf Mehta, a Trustee on behalf of the Bombay Parsi Panchayat (BPP) via video conferencing On Monday; the Court had asked the State to consider the BPP's representation and the State rejected the said representation today.
Petitioner's counsel Advocate Prakash Shah referred to the Supreme Court order allowing the opening of three Jain temples in Mumbai during the Paryushan period and submitted similarly that the Parsi community in Mumbai should also be allowed to hold annual prayers for the dead on September 3.
Although BPP's petition had initially sought directions for the opening of Fire Temples and other places of worship for the Parsi Community but Adv, Shah clarified that his client presses reliefs only concerning Doongerwadi and that also only for offering prayers on September 3. After that, an additional affidavit was submitted on behalf of the petitioner, along with various undertakings. These undertakings were accepted across the bar
The affidavit states that the Paris's who died due to Covid-19 are not allowed to be brought to Doongerwadi but are cremated at the Worli prayer hall. The property Doongerwadi is spread across over 55 acres and is completely isolated and gated as well. Except for the members of Parsi community no one else is allowed to enter upon the doongerwadi, the additional affidavit states.
Not more than six persons from the community and two Priests at a time in each of 5 pavilions measuring from 600-800 square feet would be permitted for Farvardin between 7 am and 4:30 pm.
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