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SC Allows Rath Jatra


The Supreme Court of India Monday has allowed Annual Rath Jatra in Holy Town of Puri this year, which was stayed due to the Novel Corona Virus (COVID-19) Pandemic.

Chief Justice of India SA Bobde heard the case along with Justices AS Bopanna and Dinesh Maheshwari through video-conferencing on 22 June, a day before commencement of Rath Jatra.

Supreme Court says it considered all issues and allows conducting of Rath Jatra in Puri only, not at other places.

The Apex Court has allowed the Rath Jatra with some of the clauses regarding Social Distancing, maintaining Public Health and other issues.

Earlier CJI had set up a Three-Judge Bench to hear the petitions and Chief Justice Bobde, who is in Nagpur because of the Apex Court's summer vacation, heard the case from his home.

Both the Union and the Odisha Government told the Apex Court today that they support the holding of the Rath Jatra - which is scheduled to start from 23 June with certain restrictions.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta justified conducting Rath Jatra at Puri and Odisha Government said that it will coordinate with Temple Management committee and Union Government to make things smooth during Rath Jatra.
"It is a matter of faith for crores. If Lord Jagannath will not come out tomorrow, he cannot come out for 12 years as per traditions," Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who represented the Centre, told the Supreme Court.
Union Government said the State Government can impose curfew for a day to ensure that the virus is not spread, while maintaining precautions.

"A ritual going on for centuries cannot be interfered with. Only people tested negative (for coronavirus) and working in the Lord Jagannath temple can be part of the ritual," Mr Mehta, who mentioned the matter before Apex Court.

The Union Government also told the Top Court that the people can seek blessings on television during the live telecast. "Raja of Puri and the temple committee may supervise arrangements of these rituals," the Centre said.

Odisha Government filing an affidavit said that it will endeavour to make necessary arrangements to conduct the Rath Jatra if it is confined to Puri alone in a limited way without public attendance as proposed by Gajapati Maharaj of Puri.

Gajapati Dibyasingha Dev as Chairman of the Shree Jagannath management Committee had urged the State Government to organize Rath Jatra as it is mandated.

Apex Court considered the petitions as there are 24 petitioners who have approached the Supreme Court seeking a recall of its order staying the Rath Jatra this year.

Sambit Patra, Senior Saffron Leader is has also approached Apex Court to allow Rath Jatra.
 
 


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