New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Uttar Pradesh government to reconsider its decision to allow the Kanwar Yatra this year in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The top court, while adjourning the hearing till Monday, said that 'the safety of the citizens and the right to life is paramount and all other sentiments whether being religious is subservient to this basic fundamental right'. 

A bench of Justices RF Nariman and B R Gavai said that it is of the prima face view that all kinds of sentiments are subservient to Article 21 of the Constitution and asserted that “Uttar Pradesh government cannot be allowed to hold Kanwar Yatra in view of Covid”.

The apex court further directed the Yogi Adityanath-led Uttar Pradesh government to apprise it of its decision about allowing Kanwar Yatra on Monday (July 19), otherwise, it will pass an order. 

The top court's direction came after the Uttar Pradesh government told the bench that it has decided after relevant discussions to hold a “symbolic” Kanwar Yatra with appropriate Covid restrictions.

Earlier during the hearing, the Centre told the Supreme Court that the state governments must not allow the movement of devotees to bring Gangajal from Haridwar in Uttarakhand in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and the concerns over the possible third wave of the deadly virus. 

The Centre in its affidavit submitted to the top court, however, said that state government must ensure availability of the Ganga water through tankers at designated locations keeping the religious sentiment in mind. 

On July 14, the top court had taken suo motu cognisance of media reports on the Uttar Pradesh government's decision to allow 'Kanwar Yatra' amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and sought responses from the state as well as the Centre "given the disparate political voices" on the matter.

It had referred to the statement of Prime Minister Narendra Modi that not even a bit of compromise can be made on COVID-19 containment and said the citizens were perplexed about the happenings in view of the fact that the UP government has allowed the religious 'yatra' commencing from July 25. It had issued notices to the Centre and the state governments of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

Posted By: Talibuddin Khan