The Gujarat High Court today refused to entertain an application filed by Hindu Yuva Vahini seeking a modification of the Court's June 20 order through which the annual Rath Yatra in Ahmedabad that was scheduled to commence on June 23 stood cancelled. (Hindu Yuva Vahini vs the State of Gujarat)
The religious outfit had moved the High Court seeking a modification of its order passed by a Division Bench on June 20.
The Bench of Chief Justice Vikram Nath and Justice JB Pardiwala had said that in line with the Supreme Court's June 18 directive regarding the same, neither the Rath Yatra nor any religious or other activities concerning the same would be conducted this year amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The modification plea was rejected by the High Court today before the Supreme Court issued a modification of its order as far as Puri, Odisha was concerned.
Before the High Court, the Hindu Yuva Vahini had sought for the High Court to modify its order to the extent as to allow just the three holy chariots to exit the temple premises. It was prayed that the Rath yatra be allowed to be carried out in a symbolic manner, treading on the shortest possible route, and without the involvement of the public.
The usual route undertaken for the yatra every year may not be taken this year, the applicant NGO had suggested and added that the route on which the three chariots are allowed to be pulled may remain closed for vehicular traffic to ensure that no crowd gathers.
The annual rath yatra is an important symbol of Ahmedabad's tradition and also its history of communal harmony, it was stated in the plea which urged for the Court to modify its order to allow for the 142-year-old tradition to be maintained. Regardless of the circumstances faced by the city of Ahmedabad, the rath yatra has never had to be cancelled, the outfit highlighted in its application.
While the applicant said that they are conscious of the health crisis faced by the country due to COVID-19 pandemic at the moment, they also sought to highlight that the yatra is a very pious and significant religious and cultural event and the Court's order directly affects the devotees of Lord Jagannath.
Keeping in view the cultural, religious, and historic importance of this annual rath yatra, Hindu Yuva Vahini had sought for the Court to modify its order and allow the yatra to be carried out in a symbolic manner. However, the plea stands rejected. The application was filed through Advocate Vivek Bhamare.
Earlier today, the Supreme Court departed from its earlier order passed on June 18 through which the Jagannath Puri yatra was cancelled and left it to the State government of Odisha and the temple committee to hold the annual Rath Yatra in Odisha's temple town.