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SC refuses to interfere with Odisha govt’s decision confining Rath Yatra to Puri

New Delhi, Jul 6 : The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to intervene in the Odisha government’s order to disallow the Ratha Yatra festival in temples across Odisha except for Puri Jagannath Ratha Yatra in view of the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic.A bench headed by Chief Justice NV Ramana and comprising Justices AS Bopanna and Hrishikesh Roy was hearing a batch of pleas against the Orissa High Court order declining to interfere with the State’s decision barring Rath Yatra at any temple other than Puri’s Jagannath temple amid the pandemic.

Image courtesy – UNI

There is no question of interfering in the matter, CJI said and expressed hope that the Ratha Yatra happens next year.CJI Ramana said that he is a devotee of Lord Jagannath. “Hopefully next year God will allow us to see. Till then watch it on TV,” he said.If Rath Yatra is permitted, it will be the devotees who could suffer and we don’t want to take the risk, the CJI added.In their pleas, the Petitioners argued that Covid-19 cases had declined in their districts and in fact, the situation is better than Puri.Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said that there are other places where Yatra is going on for centuries and thus, the Court may consider granting permission for ‘token Yatra’ where only a few persons are allowed to perform rituals.

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