The Supreme Court on Friday refused to stay a Jharkhand High Court order permitting only virtual darshan of a temple deity, but suggested that in areas where the lockdown has been lifted, places of worship should be opened on important occasions under social distancing guidelines. E-darshan is not the same as live darshan,” a bench led by Justice Arun Mishra observed during a virtual hearing on an appeal filed by BJP leader Nishikant Dubey against the high court order. Dubey had sought the court’s nod for the Shravani Mela which is held annually at the Baidyanath temple but was denied permission. He had also sought the opening of the Basukinath temple in the state near Deogarh, which forms part of the pilgrimage. His lawyer Samir Malik argued that although priests have been permitted to enter temples, the doors are still shut for devotees.
When the country is opening up, why only religious places are shut?” he said. “If there is a total lockdown, it is different. But when other things are being opened, temples, mosques and churches should also be opened, at least on important occasions.”
But the state, represented by senior advocate Salman Khurshid, did not agree to the suggestion, citing a surge in coronavirus cases in the state.