No Rath Yatra to be held in the Lord Jagannath Temple in Odisha amid the pandemic situation, declared the Supreme Court on Thursday – June 18,2020.
A bench headed by Chief Justice of India S ABobde passed the order on a plea filed by Odisha Vikas Parishad seeking to stay the annual Lord Shri Jagannath’s Rath Yatra in the state, which is scheduled to take place on 23rd June. Senior Advocate Mukul Rohtagi submitted on behalf of the petitioner that congregation of nearly 10 lakh people in Bhubaneshwar cannot be allowed for the yatra on account of the pandemic.
Nodding on the situation, CJI Bobdeobserved, “We are not allowing this. Lord Jagannath will not forgive us if we allow this to continue. Activities related to Rath Yatra are injuncted.” The order further read: "We consider it appropriate that in the interest of public health and safety of citizens to restrain the Respondents from holding the Rath Yatra this year. We direct that no Rath Yatra will be held in the temple of Odisha”. The court also ordered that no secular or religious activity associated with rath yatra will take place this year. Senior Advocate Harish Salve, who represented the State of Odisha, also suggested that it would be better to stop the festivities. Though some of the intervenors pleaded that rituals related to the Yatra should be permitted, the bench did not accept it. The petitioner had submitted IF Rath Yatra is allowed, it could lead to a ‘catastrophic’ spread of COVID 19 as it attracts lakhs of devotees. [READ ORDER]