New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled out the possibility of conducting the Lord Jagannath Annual Rath Yatra and the activities connected to it this year, in the wake of Coronavirus pandemic.

The grand affair of devotion and tranquility was scheduled to take place on June 23 in Odisha’s Puri, in which the attendance of over a million devotees was expected.

The Supreme Court bench led by Chief Justice SA Bobde said, “We are not allowing this. Lord Jagannath will not forgive us if we allow this to continue. All activities related to the Rath Yatra are injuncted.”

The court was listening to an urgent Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by an NGO, Odisha Vikas Parishad, in which the NGO said that the annual rath yatra in Puri will draw around 10 lakh people, and the festivities will go on for next 10-12 days, “the rath yatra amid the COVID-19 pandemic will be an invitation to infect lakhs of devotees", the petition stated.

The government, however, wanted the court to allow some rituals related to the Rath Yatra to take place. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said that the sensitivity of the matter requires that some rituals be allowed.

To this, the Chief Justice stated that no secular or religious activity associated with the Rath Yatra will take place this year, and listed the matter for further hearing 4 weeks after.

“The word ‘juggernaut’ comes from Jagannath; a juggernaut cannot be stopped. So, Lord Jagannath cannot be stopped by this," the court observed.

Following the cancellation ordered by the apex court, Sri Jagannath Temple Management Committee likely to meet on Friday to discuss the next course of action.

It will be for the first time in the living memory that Rath Yatra, even if takes place after next course of action by Temple Management committee, won’t be a devotee-studded affair. Earlier, on 5th June, for the first time Lord Jagannath’s annual Snan Purnima rituals were held in the absence of devotees due to the lockdown curbs in-place.

Posted By: Talib Khan