Petition Filed in Calcutta High Court Challenges the Reopening of Religious Places

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In the case of Priyanka Tibrewal v Union of India, the petitioner challenged the easing of lockdown. Further, she challenged the opening of religious places amid the rise in COVID-19 cases.

Brief Facts of the Case 

The West Bengal Government issued a notification on the 30th of May 2020. This notification asked for a phased reopening of all public places. Additionally, it allows places of worship placed outside containment zones to open from 8th June 2020. 

However, prominent news reports of the state started showing a rise in cases since 3rd June 2020. Hence, the petitioner filed the current petition against this notification, citing public health concerns. 

Arguments of the Petitioner

The counsel for the petitioner stated that the lockdown was for public benefit. It is a regulatory measure to fight the spread of COVID-19. Hence, its lifting should also be done keeping in mind ‘public order and health’ under Article 25 of the Constitution. 

Further, the rise in COVID-19 cases shows that social distancing is the only way to stop the spread. In light of this, he questioned the opening of religious places amid the rise in cases. 

The counsel argued that amid these circumstances, all non-essential activities should be stopped. As a result, he asked the Court to stop the opening of religious places. 

Additionally, he also asked children below the age of 12 to be exempted from attending the school. He claimed that children below 12 were more susceptible to COVID-19 infection. 

Arguments of the Respondent 

The counsel argued that the government is easing the lockdown for people’s welfare. People can go to their jobs and start earning again. He claimed that many people had lost their jobs due to the lockdown, and many more were on unpaid leaves. He argued that a phased reopening could ensure proper public safety.

Observations of the Court

The two-judge bench of Chief Justice T B Radhakrishnan and Justice Arijit Banerjee heard both sides. It said the matter will be heard on 26th June 2020. In the meantime, it kept the Court open for appeals from both sides.


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