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UP cannot go ahead with Kanwar Yatra,… 100%, says SC

A bench comprising justices R.F. Nariman and B.R. Gavai said authorities should reconsider whether to hold physical Kanwar Yatra at all, otherwise court will pass order in the matter.

IANS | New Delhi |

The Supreme Court on Friday pointed out that fear of a third Covid wave looms large over all Indians as it asked the Uttar Pradesh government to reconsider its decision on a physical Kanwar Yatra, emphasizing that a Yogi-government nod for a 100 per cent physical yatra is not advisable.

A bench comprising justices R.F. Nariman and B.R. Gavai said authorities should reconsider whether to hold physical Kanwar Yatra at all, otherwise court will pass order in the matter.

“We are prima facie of the view that this is a matter concerning every citizen and all other sentiments, including religious are subservient to right to life of citizens,” said the bench.

The bench told senior advocate C.S. Vaidyanathan, who is representing the UP government, “given Covid pandemic and the fear of third wave, which looms over all Indians”, whether the authority will reconsider allowing the yatra at all for compelling religious reasons.

Justice Nariman said: “State of UP cannot go ahead with it. 100 percent”. Vaidyanathan replied, “We have submitted affidavit from UP government. We just want a symbolic yatra”.

He added State Disaster Management Authority deliberated upon this, and stated that for compelling religious reasons if someone wants to undertake the yatra, they should seek permission, have negative RT-PCR report and also be fully vaccinated.

Justice Nariman said: “We can give you one more opportunity to consider holding yatra physically at all. This or else we pass an order.”

Justice Nariman added, “We are all Indians and this suo motu has been taken up as Article 21 applies to all of us. Either you reconsider to have it at all or we deliver the order.

Vaidyanathan said authorities will be apprised and will come out with additional affidavit by Monday morning as to whether there can be a reconsideration of holding a physical yatra amid these conditions if at all.

The top court has scheduled the matter for further hearing on Monday.

On July 14, the top court took suo moto cognizance of the Uttar Pradesh government’s decision to allow Kanwar Yatra amid the ongoing Covid pandemic.