New Delhi: Supreme Court stays holding of world famous Ratha Jatra in Puri amid COVID19 Pandemic .
The three-judge Bench of Chief Justice of India SA Bobde and Justices AS Bopanna and Dinesh Maheshwari noted, “There shall be no activity associated with the rath yatra during this period. Lord Jagannath will not forgive us if we allow it.”
An NGO had earlier moved the apex court seeking a stay on the yatra, arguing it will cause “catastrophic spread” of COVID-19 if permitted.
An Odisha-based rights organisation had moved the Supreme Court seeking a stay on the possible celebration of the annual Rath Yatra at Puri’s Jagannath Temple on June 23.
Advocate Hitendra Ratha says senior lawyer Harish Salve appearing for Odisha submitted that conduct of festival might create huge public gathering & law and order situation but he never mentioned any alternative way to pull chariots.
Odisha Vikas Parishad, through Advocate Ranjeeta Rohatgi, had stated in its plea that all the rituals leading up to the Rath Yatra such as ‘Akshay Tritiya’ and ‘Snana Purnima’ have been allowed to be performed by the Odisha state government.
Thus, the petitioner apprehended that there was a possibility that the Rath Yatra, which draws in lakhs of people, will also be allowed to take place.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, urged the Court that some other ritual instead of the Rath Yatra can be permitted. However, Senior Advocate Harish Salve, appearing for the state of Odisha apprised the Court of the dangers.