'We were a little disturbed': SC on UP govt pressing for Kanwar Yatra
New Delhi, July 14, 2021
The Supreme Court on Wednesday took suo motu cognisance of the Uttar Pradesh government's decision to allow the "Kanwar Yatra" amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
The order in this matter has also been sent to the Chief Justice of India, N. V. Ramana.
A bench headed by Justice R. F. Nariman and comprising Justice B. R. Gavai has issued a notice to the Centre, the Uttarakhand government, and the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh, fixing the matter for hearing on Friday.
Taking cognisance of a news report stating the Uttar Pradesh government is pressing ahead with the annual ritual of "Kanwar Yatra" that sees a heavy movement of pilgrims across the states in the northern belt, the bench said: "We were a little disturbed, given today's headline."
The top court emphasised that Uttar Pradesh has chosen to continue with "Kanwar Yatra" while Uttarakhand, with its hindsight of experience, has said that there will be no yatra this time.
It also pointed at another news report, wherein Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his meeting with the Chief Ministers of northeastern states mentioned that "it's up to us to stop it (the third wave of the pandemic) and we cannot compromise even a bit".
The bench said: "Given the disparate political voices, all speaking at the same time, it is important that the relevant Secretary, Union of India, respond to this news report. Given the fact that this Yatra is to take off from July 25, it is necessary to fix a short time period for this case."
The bench said that affidavits will be filed by Friday morning by the relevant Secretary, Union of India; and Principal Secretaries of Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh.
The bench added, "List the matter on 16.07.2021 (Friday). A copy of this order be given Dasti to B. V. Balram Das, standing counsel for Union of India, Abhishek Atrey, standing counsel for the state of Uttarakhand and Pradeep Mishra, standing counsel for the state of Uttar Pradesh immediately. The registry is directed to send a copy of this order to the Chief Justice of India forthwith," the top court said in its order.