Bhubaneswar: Putting all speculations to rest, the Supreme Court of India today issued a stay order on the conduct of annual Ratha Jatra of Lord Jagannath in Puri.
As per hearing by the apex court, the Ratha Jatra at Puri will not be held this year due to COVID-19 pandemic.
“The annual Rath Yatra this year is scheduled for June 23. The festivities usually go on for 20 days. Having regard to the danger and public safety of citizens, we direct State of Odisha to not conduct any Rath Yatra this year. There shall be no activity associated with the rath yatra during this period. Lord Jagannath will not forgive us if we allow it,” the Supreme Court said.
Hearing a plea filed by Odisha Vikash Parishad, an Odisha-based rights organisation, the three-judge Bench of Chief Justice of India SA Bobde, Justice AS Bopanna and Justice Dinesh Maheshwari noted, “A procession of this magnitude cannot be permitted at the time of a pandemic.”
In the backdrop of increasing number of COVID-19 cases in Odisha, the petitioner had moved the Supreme Court seeking stay on celebration of Ratha Jatra in Puri this year.
The 9-day-long sojourn of Lord Jagannath and His Divine siblings was scheduled to begin on June 23 this year.
The decision of Supreme Court is likely to draw sharp reactions from Lord Jagannath devotees across the world in coming days.