SC asks UP govt to reconsider its decision on allowing Kanwar Yatra
New Delhi, July 16, 2021
The Supreme Court on Friday pointed out that the fear of a third Covid wave loomed large over all Indians and asked the Uttar Pradesh government to reconsider its decision on a physical Kanwar Yatra.
It emphasized that a Yogi-government nod for a hunded 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 the court will pass an 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 the right to life of citizens," said the bench.
The bench asked 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 would reconsider allowing the yatra at all for compelling religious reasons.
Justice Nariman said: "State of UP cannot go ahead with it. 100 per cent". 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 an additional affidavit by Monday morning as to whether there can be a reconsideration of holding a physical yatra amid these conditions.
The top court has scheduled the matter for further hearing on Monday.
On July 14, the top court took suo motu cognizance of the Uttar Pradesh government's decision to allow Kanwar Yatra amid the ongoing Covid pandemic.