New Delhi, Jul 6 (ILNS) The Supreme Court today refused to permit Rath Yatra across Odisha except at Puri Jagannath temple scheduled to start on July 12, in view of the surge in cases of Novel Coronavirus.
A bench headed by chief justice N V Ramana, while hearing the plea filed by Odisha Vikash Parishad, seeking cancellation of the Chariot festival dedicated to Lord Jagannath, in view of the COVID-19 pandemic said that we agrees with Odisha government which has permitted Rath Yatra only at Puri and allowed rituals within temple premises of all other Jagannath temples.
Justice Ramana said, “You want to pray to the God. You can do it from home. I also wanted to go to Puri but I couldn’t in the last one & half years. This isn’t the time,” the CJI said.
The Supreme Court refused Rath Yatras in Baripada, Sasang & in other cities of Odisha.
Solicitor general Tushar Mehta suggested that yatras can be allowed by limiting the numbers of people and with COVID restrictions.
“We hope God will allows us these rituals next year,” the CJI said, while dismissing all applications.
Advocate Ranjeeta Rohatgi who filed the Original writ petition objected the filing of various applications in her plea. “this writ was filed for Rath Yatra and nothing remains in this writ petition. Please don’t entertain any application filed in this petition,” she Said.
Earlier on June 21, the apex court had allowed the Puri Rath Yatra with restrictions and asked the state government and the Centre to work in tandem. A bench headed by then Chief Justice S.A. Bobde noted that the state government has the freedom to stop the Rath Yatra, if it observed a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases in Puri.
During the hearing, the then Chief Justice had noted that the court was willing to modify its June 18 order, taking in view the Novel Coronavirus pandemic. The Court said the Jagannath Temple management committee and state government can conduct the Rath Yatra in accordance with the guidelines. The court directed the Rath Yatra in a very restricted manner without allowing devotee congregation. The Odisha government agreed to coordinate with the Centre./ILNS/KR/SNG