Puri Rath Yatra 2020 gets Supreme Court nod

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday gave its approval to conduct the Rath Yatra 2020 in Puri, Odisha with restrictions. The Supreme Court’s order came while hearing the modification applications against its June 18  decision.

The annual Rath Yatra is slated to be held tomorrow, without participation of devotees.

It is worthwhile to mention here that the apex court on June 18, in a historic judgment, had stalled Lord Jagannath’s annual festival in the wake of Covid19 pandemic.

However, people from different walks of life including the opposition parties had urged the Odisha government to  to take appropriate steps for approaching the Supreme Court for partial modification of its 18th June order so as to permit performance of Ratha Yatra only at Puri.

Besides, as many as 17 modification applications were filled at the court to review its order.

Representing the Odisha government before the court,  Principal Resident Commissioner said that if the Rath Yatra is confined to Puri alone in a limited way without public attendance as proposed by Gajapati Maharaj, the State government will endeavour to make necessary arrangements to conduct the annual festival accordingly. 

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appearing for Centre before J. Arun Mishra said that a ritual going on for centuries shouldn’t be interfered with. Centre has some suggestions regarding Rath Yatra. Senior Advocate Harish Salve for Odisha government also agreed with SG Mehta.

SG Tushar Mehta also suggests that the entire Rath Yatra can be telecast live.

“If Lord Jagannath will not come out tomorrow, he cannot come out for 12 years as per traditions. While maintaining precautions to ensure that pandemic is not spread, Odisha government can impose curfew for a day and only the servitors who have tested negative for the coronavirus can be permitted to conduct the rituals of the annual car festival,” suggested SG Mehta.

The three-judge bench of Supreme Court comprised of CJI SA Bobde, Justice Dinesh Maheshwari and Justice AS Bopanna heard the case.

Stay tuned for the Rath Yatra guidelines.

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