'Lord Jagannath won't forgive us if we allow Rath Yatra this year': Supreme Court stays procession due to COVID-19 pandemic

The Supreme Court of India on 18 June has stayed the historic Rath Yatra at Puri's Jagannath Temple in Odisha that was slated to start from 23 June.

FP Trending June 18, 2020 15:50:08 IST
'Lord Jagannath won't forgive us if we allow Rath Yatra this year': Supreme Court stays procession due to COVID-19 pandemic

The Supreme Court of India on 18 June has stayed the historic Rath Yatra at Puri's Jagannath Temple in Odisha that was slated to start from 23 June. The decision has been taken due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The festival involves pulling the chariots of Lord Jagannath, Balarama and Subhadra as they come out of the temple in the annual event.

According to a report in Moneycontrol, a bench of Chief Justice SA Bobde and Justices AS Bopanna and Dinesh Maheshwari said that this year's Rath Yatra at Puri cannot be allowed in the interest of health and safety of citizens.

Lord Jagannath wont forgive us if we allow Rath Yatra this year Supreme Court stays procession due to COVID19 pandemic

Devotees pull the chariots during the rath yatra. File image. PTI

As per the report, the Chief Justice said, “Lord Jagannath won't forgive us if we allow this year's Rath Yatra.” The bench said social gatherings cannot take place due to the rampant rise in coronavirus cases across the country.

The bench also told the Odisha government to not allow any such chariot procession or pilgrimage anywhere in the state to avoid the spread of coronavirus .

According to a report in Livemint, the CJI said, "In the interest of public health and safety of citizens, we restrain the state from holding the Rath Yatra and associated activities. We direct that there shall be no Rath Yatra and associated activities this year."

As per the report, the observation from the apex judicial body came on a plea by an NGO Vikas Parishad, seeking to stay the holding of the chariot festival which spans 10 to 12 days and involves gatherings which number up to lakhs from devotees across the world. The NGO's plea claimed that at present the entire nation is fighting COVID-19 with the lives of common people at huge risk.

Hindustan Times reported that while solicitor general Tushar Mehta requested the court not to impose a blanket ban, CJI Bobde said that they have enough experience to know that if they allow any religious activity then there will be a gathering.

As per the report, 12 temples in Balasore district, six in Mayurbhanj, five in Sambalpur, two each in Kandhamal, Bolangir and Gajapati had earlier announced that they will not hold the Rath Yatra outside the temple premises.

Odisha TV reported that the managing committee of Shri Haribaladev Temple issued a statement saying that in the wake of the pandemic, it has been decided to conduct all rituals inside the temple premises, following government guidelines.

Odisha so far has seen 11 deaths and over 1,200 cases of coronavirus in the state.

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