Supreme Court Allows Jagannath Rath Yatra in Puri
Amidst Covid-19 Pandemic, The Supreme Court of India modified its earlier order and is now allowing the conduct of the Jagannath Rath Yatra in Puri, Odisha.
But its order has several conditions from curfew timing to number of individuals who can pull the chariot, from social distancing norms to record keeping of these who will participate within the annual religious ceremony this year. Here are 10 points from the court order:
“We find, in one among this applications, an affidavit filed on behalf of the State of Orissa stating that it’d be possible to conduct the Rath Yatra at Puri “in a limited way without public attendance”. This has been proposed by Gajapati Maharaj of Puri, who is that the Chairman of the Puri Jagannath Temple Administration.
“Indeed, if it’s possible to make sure that there’s no public attendance, we see no reason why the Rath Yatra can’t be conducted safely along its usual route from temple to temple,” the court said in its written order Monday.
“All entry points into the town of Puri, i.e., airports, railway stations, bus stands, etc.,shall be closed during the amount of Rath Yatra festival. The government shall impose a curfew within the City of Puri on all the times and through all the time when Rath Yatra chariots are taken in procession.
The government can also impose curfew within the city of Puri on such other days and through such time as deemed necessary. During the amount of curfew nobody would be allowed to return out of their houses or their places of residence, such as, hotels, lodging houses, etc. to start out with, the curfew shall begin tonight at 8 p.m..
Each Rath, i.e, Chariot, shall be pulled by less than 500 persons. Each of these 500 persons shall be tested for the Coronavirus. They shall be permitted to tug the chariot as long as they need been found negative.
The number 500 shall include officials and police personnel. There shall be an interval of 1 hour between two chariots.
Each of these who is engaged in pulling the chariot shall maintain social distancing before, during and after the Rath Yatra.
We are informed that certain rituals are related to the Rath Yatra. We direct that only such persons shall be related to the rituals, who are found to possess tested negative and shall maintain social distancing.
The primary responsibility for conducting the Rath Yatra in accordance with the conditions and other norms shall be that of the Committee in-charge of Puri Jagannath Temple Administration.
Each member of the Committee shall be liable for due compliance with the conditions imposed by this Court and therefore the general directions which govern ensuring of public health issued by the Union Government. additionally , the officers designated by the government for conduct of the Rath Yatra shall be responsible likewise.
The rituals and therefore the Rath Yatra shall be freely covered by the visual media.
We take a note of the very fact that the State of Odisha features a good record of getting controlled the pandemic with a really little loss of life.
We see no reason why an equivalent attitude of care and caution shouldn’t be applied to the Rath Yatra. The government may take such help as could also be found necessary from the union government.
The government shall maintain a record containing details of all those that are allowed to participate within the Rath Yatra or the rituals connected therewith along side details of their medical conditions after testing.