Published On: Mon, Jun 22nd, 2020

Supreme Court allows Puri Rath Yatra with no public attendance

New Delhi: The Supreme Court Monday allowed holding of historic Lord Jagannath Rath Yatra at Puri, which starts tomorrow, with certain conditions including that there would be no public attendance.

BJP leader Sambit Patra, urged the Supreme Court to allow the Rath Yatra with certain restrictions due to the pandemic.

Modifying its June 18 order in which it had said that this year’s Yatra cannot be allowed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the apex court permitted holding of the Yatra after taking note of Odisha government’s stand that it “can be held in a limited way without public attendance”.

A bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde directed the state government to impose curfew in the Puri City during the time when the chariots are taken out in the procession — and event in which lakhs of people from the world over participate every year.

The bench, also comprising Justices Dinesh Maheshwari and A S Bopanna, said that each Rath or chariot would to be pulled by no more than 500 people and all of them have to be tested for coronavirus.

It also directed that those engaged in pulling chariot shall maintain social distancing before, during and after the Rath Yatra.

“Indeed, if it is possible to ensure that there is no public attendance, we see no reason why the Rath Yatra cannot be conducted safely along its usual route from temple to temple,” the bench said in its order.

While hearing a PIL filed by NGO ‘Odisha Vikash Parishad’ the apex court on June 18 had said that in the interest of public health and safety of citizens, this year’s Puri Rath Yatra cannot be allowed and that “Lord Jagannath won’t forgive us if we allow” it.

A day after the order was passed, some applications were filed in the top court seeking recall and modification of its order.

These applications, including those filed by ‘Jagannath Sanskruti Jana Jagarana Manch’ and BJP leader Sambit Patra, urged the court to allow the Rath Yatra with certain restrictions due to the pandemic.

The bench was informed by the Centre that Rath Yatra can be conducted without compromising on citizen’s health and with co-operation of state and the temple trust.

PTI

About the Author

%d bloggers like this: