SC dismisses PIL on religious processions
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed a PIL filed by an NGO seeking framing of guidelines to regulate religious processions, brandishing swords and firearms, and grant of permission to such events by state administration, asking why such festivals are portrayed in poor light as a reason for riots.
A bench of Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justice P S Narasimha refused to entertain the PIL filed by NGO Citizens for Justice and Peace, of which social activist Teesta Setalvad is the Secretary, saying law and order is a state subject and, moreover, issues like laying down the SOP (standard operating procedure) for grant of permission for religious processions are “judicially manageable” in a diverse nation like India.
“Why do we always want to portray that religious festivals are the time for riots? Let us look at the good which happens in the country. See, in Maharashtra during ‘Ganesh Puja’, lakhs of persons gather but there are no riots,” the CJI observed during the brief hearing.
Senior advocate C U Singh, appearing for the NGO, said the guidelines dealing with permissions for procession are there but they are not implemented.
“There has to be overall guidance and no court, except the Supreme Court, is equipped to deal with the national issue,” the senior lawyer said, adding, “Processions are taken out brandishing swords, firearms during religious festivals”.
“In case of violation of permission, one has to invoke Article 226 (before the high court),” the bench said, adding the country is diverse and the conditions in one part are different from other parts.
It said law and order is a state subject and has to be handled by the state administrations.
“The law and order is the state subject. The issues from Kashmir to Kanyakumari are different. How can this court monitor this? These prayers are not judicially manageable. It seeks the roving writ of mandamus…,” the bench said.
It said the Supreme Court cannot be dragged into every area of law and order. The counsel for the NGO then sought to withdraw the PIL which the court disallowed.
“Sorry. No withdrawal with these prayers. Dismissed,” the bench said.