SC disallows 'Rath Yatra' at places other than Odisha's Puri
The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed pleas seeking permission to conduct Rath Yatra at various places other than Puri's Jagannath temple in Odisha, saying it cannot take any chance in view of the COVID-19 pandemic. The top court was hearing petitions challenging the Orissa High Court's order by which the state government's decision, disallowing Rath Yatra at places other than Puri, was permitted.
We can't decide how we're going to be affected: CJI
During the hearing, Chief Justice NV Ramana, who was heading the bench, said, "I also want to go to Jagannath Puri. I have not been there for last one-and-half years. I do puja every day at my home." "The government has taken a decision. You and I are not the people who can say as to how we are going to be affected," he added.
Sorry we're dismissing it, I also feel bad: CJI
"We do not want to take chance... We have to watch it on TV. Sorry, we are dismissing it. I also feel bad. We hope and trust that God will help us next time," the CJI said. Notably, the Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath in Puri and at other places is an annual ritual and this time, it is scheduled for July 12.
SC permitted 'Rath Yatra' last year under certain conditions
Meanwhile, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, said that there was a complete prohibition on Rath Yatra, but the Supreme Court permitted it last year with certain conditions by its June 22, 2020 orders.
'Court may consider granting nod for other places under conditions'
Mehta further said that this year the Odisha government permitted Rath Yatra in Jagannath Puri temple only, but the top court may consider granting the nod for other places as well with certain conditions as the Rath Yatra has been conducted for centuries in the state. "This way both religious sentiments and health of people will be protected," he said.
Case of Puri different from other places: Odisha Advocate General
When one lawyer submitted the situation has now improved and there should be permission for Rath Yatra at other places, the bench, also comprising justices AS Bopanna and Hrishikesh Roy, said, "This year more people died than the last year." Meanwhile, the Advocate General of Odisha Ashok Parija said the case of Puri was different from other places and hence the state has allowed it.
Government won't be able to monitor 'yatra' in every village
"Permission for other temples would open the flood gates as such yatras are being conducted in every village and the government will not be able to monitor this," added the Advocate General of Odisha.