Bhubaneswar, June 22 (LocalWire): Bringing an end to the heavy suspense over the observance of the chariot festival this year, the Supreme Court today clarified that the annual Ratha Yatra of Puri may be held, albeit, with restrictions.
The three-judge bench of Justice SA Bobde, Justice AS Bopanna and Justice Dinesh Maheshwari Bobde today heard the application filed by the Principal Resident Commissioner In-Charge of Odisha Government, Sanjeeb Mishra, in which he sought a modification of the Supreme Court’s June 18 order on the cancellation of Ratha Jatra throughout the state.
The Union government as well as the Odisha government had earlier suggested to the Supreme Court that the chariot festival can be held without the participation of devotees.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta who was representing the Centre told the Court, “It’d be a matter of faith for crores of people. If Lord Jagannath will not come out tomorrow, he cannot come out for 12 years as per traditions.”
The apex court directed the Central and State governments to work in tandem to ensure a smooth sailing of the Yatra.
The lawyers argued that the state government is capable of ensuring that all precautions pertaining to the pandemic are maintained, and can impose a curfew of a day.
The Yatra can be held without the congregation of devotees, who can watch it on their TVs, Mehta contended.
It may be recalled that a total of 17 petitions were moved in the Supreme Court after its June 18 order cancelling the Ratha Yatra.
It may be noted that Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik has reviewed the preparations of the festival tomorrow in a meeting over video conferencing with senior officials.
Meanwhile, the Gajapati Maharaja of Puri Dibyasingh Deb said, “I am indebted to the Supreme Court for reconsidering its earlier decision and permitting the conduct of Ratha Yatra in Puri.
I thank the Central and State governments for their support in making possible this historic event.”