On Rath Yatra, Supreme Court says will let temple committee, Odisha decide
Modifying its earlier order, the Supreme Court on Monday said it is up to the temple authorities and Odisha government to decide on the annual Rath Yatra in the state. The Yatra is scheduled to begin on June 23, this leaves the state government with half a day to come up with a plan.
Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik, shortly after the breather given by the court, has called for a Rath Yatra preparatory meeting in Bhubaneswar.
The Centre and the Odisha government had petitioned the top court against stopping the Yatra, citing years of tradition and faith.
“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 told the court.
The famous Yatra, running uninterrupted for 285 years, the court was requested be allowed this year without public participation.
The apex court had earlier cancelled the Yatra, underscoring public health and safety of citizens amid a raging coronavirus pandemic. The court added that “Lord Jagannath won’t forgive us if we allow” it.
“In the interest of public health and safety of citizens, we restrain the state from holding the Rath Yatra and associated activities. We direct that there shall be no Rath Yatra and associated activities this year”, the CJI SA Bobde headed bench had ordered last week.
Three heavily built wooden chariots of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra are traditionally pulled by thousands of devotees over a distance of three kilometres twice during the nine-day festival of the Trinity at Puri.