The high court’s stay came two days after the Supreme Court on Thursday refused permission to hold the annual Rath Yatra for Lord Jagannath in Odisha’s Puri citing “danger” to health on account of the pandemic. The division bench of Chief Justice Vikram Nath and Justice JB Pardiwala, which was hearing the matter, relied on the Supreme Court’s judgment staying the annual celebrations in Puri Jagannath.
Advocate Aum Kotwal, who was representing the petitioner Hitesh Kumar Chavda, a journalist, told The Indian Express, “We argued that as per the central guidelines, such religious congregations cannot take place and these guidelines are statutory in nature. Moreover, no official order on the conduction of the procession has been passed yet. At the next hearing, the state government is also expected to submit why there has been a delay in official announcement regarding the same.”
The 143rd Rath Yatra was scheduled for June 23. The Rath Yatra in Ahmedabad is second only to the one in Puri in terms of the scale of celebrations. Lakhs of devotees participate in the event every year. The procession route is along the walled city areas which continue to be under containment zones and have at least 1,600 active Covid-19 cases.
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