The Centre and the Odisha Government have sought permission from the Supreme Court to conduct Puri Jagannath Rath Yatra with precautions.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, mentioning the matter before a bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra, said :
"The tradition of centuries may not be stopped. It is a matter of faith for crores. If Lord Jagannath will not come out tomorrow, he cannot come out for 12 years ad per traditions".
He submitted that the Centre has come out with a lot of conditions which can be adopted to ensure that the festival can be held without congregation of people, and by permitting only those priests who have tested negative for COVID-19 to conduct the rituals.
"While maintaining the precautions to ensure that pendamic is not spread, State Government can impose curfew for a day. All shebaits and Pandas and others who are tested negative can participate in rituals as may be decided by HH Shri Shankracharya. People may not congregate and may seek blessings on TV during live telecast. Raja of Puri and the temple committee may supervise arrangements of these rituals", he submitted.
Senior Advocate Harish Salve, appearing for State of Odisha, agreed with the proposal of the Solicitor General.
The applications seeking modification of the stay order on the Rath Yatra - scheduled to take place on June 23 - will be considered later in the day by the bench.
It was on June 18 that a bench headed by CJI Bobde stayed the Yatra and all activities related to it citing the risk of COVID-19 spread on account of congregation of large number of persons. The annual fest generally draws nearly 10 lakh persons.