The Supreme Court Monday asked the Odisha government to make necessary arrangements to conduct Puri’s Rath Yatra, scheduled to start from June 23, in a restricted manner in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. The apex court also said it cannot “micro-manage” the rituals and left it to the wisdom of state, the Centre and temple management to deal with that issue.
“If it is confined to Puri alone in a limited way without public attendance as proposed by Gajapati Maharaj of Puri, Chairman of the Puri Jagannath Temple administration, state govt will endeavour to make necessary arrangements to conduct it accordingly,” the SC bench said.
Entire nation is delighted by Supreme Court decision to ensure Jagannath Rath Yatra goes on, said Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday.
The Supreme Court on Monday modified its earlier order and allowed the annual Jagannath Rath Yatra in Odisha’s Puri to be held with the coordination of the Temple committee, State and Central government without compromising with the health issue pertaining to Covid-19.
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A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India Sharad Arvind Bobde said that the apex court is only considering conducting the yatra in Puri and not anywhere else in Odisha.
Rathyatra will start in Jagannath Puri on June 23. The central government had said in the application that the pilgrimage could be done without involving the devotees. The court further said that the yatra would be carried out in coordination with the temple committee, the state government and the central government, but there should be no compromise with the health of the people. At the same time, he said, rathyatra will not be held anywhere else in Orissa except Puri. If the situation worsens, the Orissa government may suspend the pilgrimage or festival.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta from the government said that the rath yatra is a matter of faith for millions of people. If Lord Jagannath cannot come out tomorrow then he cannot come out for 12 years, because this is the tradition of Rathyatra.
The solicitor general said the trip could be canceled by imposing a one-day curfew. The Orissa government has also endorsed that the rath yatra can be organized with many conditions.
The petition appeals for consideration of allowing the rath yatra to be taken out in a modified form. Total shutdown of the entire city and travel by banning the entry of outsiders into the district is proposed.
It is not appropriate to break the tradition: Shankaracharya of Puri Peeth
Swami Nishvalananda Saraswati has appealed to the Supreme Court to reconsider the matter. “One may have the feeling that Lord Jagannath will never forgive if a rathyatra is allowed in such a crisis, but will God forgive if we break the centuries-old tradition,” he said in a statement from Puri Math.
A Hindu festival that attracts up to a million worshippers is to begin today after India’s supreme court ruled that it could take place as long as crowds practised social distancing.
Judges reversed yesterday a decision taken last week to cancel the festival of Jagannath Rath Yatra, in Puri, Odisha, after an appeal by organisers, who argued that the ten-day event had been held continuously for centuries, including in 1918, when the world was in the grip of the Spanish flu.
Opponents warned that the decision would be “catastrophic” and “an invitation to infect hundreds of thousands of devotees” in a country where the coronavirus is already racing through the population.
India recorded 14,821 new cases yesterday, taking the total number of infections to 425,282,