Plea in SC against Rath Yatra order

Puri (Odisha) – A day after the Supreme Court’s no to the Deity Jagannath Rath Yatra, a petition was filed in the apex court on 19th June for partial modification to the order to allow the religious event in Puri only amid a complete shutdown in the pilgrim town.

The apex court had on 18th June stayed the annual Rath Yatra across Odisha, which was scheduled to begin on 23rd June, in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Pranay Mohapatra, lawyer for petitioner Aftab Hossen, said that the modification plea was to urge the Court to allow conduct of the Rath Yatra only in Puri by the temple servitors and without the participation of devotees.

Puri Shankaracharya Swami Nischalananda Saraswati on 18th June urged the Supreme Court to reconsider its decision and allow the servitors to hold the festival with suitable precautions. He said the apex court can allow the Deities to get aboard the chariots.

Public congregation could be banned and the chariot festival could be organised with a limited number of servitors, he added. “The devotees can witness the rituals on television,” the Puri Shankaracharya said. The Shankaracharya of Govardhan Peeth in Puri is the religious head and his views on religious issues/disputes are accepted in the 12th-century shrine.