New Delhi: The three-judge bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde on Monday gave its nod for holding of the annual Rath Yatra in Puri and nowhere else in Odisha.
After 9 review petitions, the top court today modified its previous directive and gave a nod to the grand festival, which is scheduled to be held tomorrow.
The apex court directed the Centre and Odisha Government to work in tandem.
Rath Yatra will now be held in coordination between the Puri Temple committee, Odisha and the Central government without compromising the health issue, the SC said adding that the State government can even stop the Rath Yatra.
The Centre and the State government earlier today sought permission from the SC to conduct Rath Yatra with precautions against COVID-19.
Earlier in the day, the Odisha government had told the Supreme Court that it will endeavour to make necessary arrangements if Rath Yatra is confined to Puri alone in a limited way without public attendance as proposed by Gajapati Maharaj Dibyasingha Deb.
The Centre also mentioned Rath Yatra issue before a bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra and said that it can be held without the participation of the general public.
Solicitor-General Tushar Mehta told the SC that rituals, which have been going on for centuries, should not be disrupted. He suggested live telecast of the entire Rath Yatra from Puri. “If Lord Jagannath will not come out tomorrow, he cannot come out for 12 years as per traditions. While maintaining precautions to ensure that pandemic is not spread, the Odisha government can impose a curfew for a day and conduct Rath Yatra on June 23,” he said.
On June 18, the same bench of the apex court had put a stay on holding of Ratha Yatra adding that such gatherings cannot take place at the time of the pandemic.
The apex court had said that in the interest of public health and safety of citizens, Rath Yatra can’t be allowed this year. “Lord Jagannath won’t forgive us if we allow,” the court had mentioned.