SC allows annual Jagannath Rath Yatra to be held in Odisha’s Puri with certain restrictions

New Delhi: 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.

A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Sharad Arvind Bobde said that the apex court is only considering conducting the yatra in Puri and not anywhere else in Odisha. SC had earlier stayed the annual Rath Yatra at Jagannath Temple in Puri, which is slated to be held on June 23, and all activities related to the gathering in view of the coronavirus pandemic this year.

The top court today pronounced the order after hearing a batch of intervention applications seeking modification of its earlier order of staying the annual Rath Yatra at Jagannath Temple in Odisha’s Puri in view of COVID-19 pandemic.

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The apex court, while disposing of the pleas filed in the matter, noted that the State can stop the yatra or festivities if they feel it is going out of hand and added that it was aware of the situation and has passed the order accordingly.

Speaking to ANI, petitioner’s lawyer Pranay Kumar Mohapatra had earlier said that the pleas sought directions to allows holding of Yatra only at Puri, subject to some restrictions.

According to Mohapatra, the plea said that Rath Yatra should be allowed to be held in Puri on its scheduled time and the entire district should be shut down completely.

“People should not be allowed to participate in the Rath Yatra and the temple area should be barricaded around 3 kilometres. Odisha government has already conducted COVID-19 tests on 1,172 sevayats, which have come negative,” he added.

Mohapatra said that if the Rath Yatra is conducted by sevayats, there are fewer chances of coronavirus spread during the religious programme.

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