New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear petitions seeking to recall its order putting on hold this year's historic Puri Rath Yatra starting from June 23 amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

A single-judge bench of the top court will hear today four petitions seeking modification of its June 18 order which had stayed the annual Rath Yatra in Puri and all other places in Odisha. 

The Centre mentioned the matter before Supreme Court and said that it can be held without public participation keeping in view the COVID-19 pandemic. 

On June 18, a bench of Chief Justice S A Bobde and Justices Dineesh Maheshwari and A S Bopanna said that in the interest of public health and safety of citizens, this year's Rath Yatra at Puri in Odisha can't be allowed.

The Chief Justice said that Lord Jagannath won't forgive us if we allow this year's Rath Yatra to go on, as such a huge gathering can't take place during the pandemic.

The bench also told Odisha government not to allow the yatra or pilgrimage procession and related activities anywhere in the state to avoid spread of coronavirus.

The top court's order came on a PIL filed by Odisha based NGO seeking cancellation or postponement of this year's Rath Yatra, which continues for 10 to 12 days and is attended by millions of devotees from across the world.

While the Rath Yatra festival, held over 10-12 days with lakhs of people participating, was scheduled for June 23, the 'Bahuda Jatra' (return car festival) was fixed for July 1.

Three heavily built wooden chariots of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra are traditionally pulled by thousands of devotees over a distance of three kilometres twice during the nine-day festival of the Trinity at Puri.

Posted By: Abhinav Gupta