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"We are of view that recourse being taken here under Article 32 is inappropriate. The issue as to whether yatra be held should be left with the local administration," the Supreme Court today said.
The Supreme Court today refused to pass any orders relating to the conduct of this year's Amarnath Yatra, stating that it is a subject matter under the domain of the Executive.
A three-judge Bench of Justices DY Chandrachud, Indu Malhotra and KM Joseph refused to pass orders when the matter came up for hearing today.
The plea filed through Advocate-on-Record Amit Pai urged the Court to issue directions to ensure that live darshan of the ice lingam and the Yatra is shown on television and the internet to satiate the religious sentiments of devotees.
While refusing to pass any orders on the plea, the Court said that the decision on this year's Yatra is one to be taken by the local administration.
Citing the principles of separation of powers, the Court said that the prayers made in the plea would require the Court to "take over the functions of Executive oversight", which it was not inclined to do.
Senior Counsel Devdutt Kamat, appearing for the petitioners, sought to apprise the Court of the COVID-19 guidelines and regulations laid down by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) under the Disaster Management Act.
Justice Chandrachud remarked that the MHA was apprised and seized of the matter, and therefore, there was no requirement for the Court to exercise its jurisdiction under Article 32.
Kamat, in order to buttress his case, cited the Supreme Court's order in the Jagannath Puri Yatra case. However, the Court was quick to point out that the State of Odisha was also before the Court in that case. Further, the Court asked,
"Why should we assume that state administration will not work in order to check the spread?"
The Bench went on to state,
Points concerning public health were also raised by the petitioners, who said that the spread of the virus is a concern that needs to be addressed preemptively. Amit Pai pointed out that while no dates for the Yatra have been announced yet, media reports suggest that it may begin from July 21 or 22.
However, the Court was not inclined to entertain the plea. It however said,