Gujarat HC refuses to modify order staying Jagannath Yatra in Ahmedabad, rejects state government's plea to reconsider
The Gujarat High Court late on Monday night refused to modify its earlier order to not allow holding of the Lord Jagannath Rath Yatra in Ahmedabad, scheduled for Tuesday, and rejected an application moved by the state government seeking permission to organise the event.
Ahmedabad: The Gujarat High Court late on Monday night refused to modify its earlier order to not allow holding of the Lord Jagannath Rath Yatra in Ahmedabad, scheduled for Tuesday, and rejected an application moved by the state government seeking permission to organise the event.
The division bench of Chief Justice Vikram Nath and Justice J B Pardilwala rejected the application filed by the state government and five other parties seeking modification of the court's order on Saturday staying the 143rd Rath Yatra.
The Supreme Court had on Monday allowed the holding of the Rath Yatra in Odisha's Puri, a ground on which the Gujarat government had moved its plea.
The court started the urgent hearing at 12 am and passed its order at around 2 am on Tuesday, saying there can be no comparison between the coronavirus pandemic situation in Gujarat and Odisha.
Four individuals and an NGO apart from the government had moved applications to implead them as parties to the PIL in which the court had passed the order to not allow the historic annual procession in the city due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The court said the Rath Yatra and other processions should be held within the temple premises but no procession should be taken out in view of the prevailing coronavirus situation in Ahmedabad.
The court had stayed the Rath Yatra after hearing a PIL that said there was a risk to public health as the procession would pass through several containment areas in Ahmedabad and lakhs of people would join it along its 18-km long route.
Earlier on Monday, the court had declined to entertain a civil application moved by an NGO seeking a modification of its order and allowing a symbolic Rath Yatra for a shorter distance with no public participation.
The state government late evening moved a plea for urgent circulation after the Supreme Court paved the way for the holding of the Rath Yatra at Puri in Odisha with certain conditions.
Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani told reporters late on Monday evening after attending the aarti at the Lord Jagannath temple that the government has asked the Advocate General to seek from the court the permission to hold the Rath Yatra with restrictions.
The Supreme Court on Monday allowed holding of the historic Lord Jagannath Rath Yatra at Puri, which starts on Tuesday, with certain conditions including that there would be no public attendance.
Modifying its 18 June order in which it had said that this year's yatra cannot be allowed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the apex court permitted holding of the annual procession after taking note of Odisha government's stand that it can be held in a limited way without public attendance.
The apex court also directed Odisha government to impose a curfew in Puri city during the time when the chariots are taken out in the procession, among other conditions.
In its plea, the Gujarat government too had said that curfew will be imposed in the city areas falling on the route of the yatra and only a handful of people will be allowed with just three chariots.
Ahmedabad district has reported more than 19,000 coronavirus cases and over 1,350 deaths.
Nervous politicians and hospital administrators may be undercounting or overlooking large numbers of dead, analysts say
India's courts have meanwhile become increasingly vocal critics of the Modi government's handling of the crisis.
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