Gujarat High Court on Tuesday reiterated its stay on the Rath Yatra procession in Ahmedabad, with a bench constituted past midnight headed by Chief Justice Vikram Nath observing that the “situation in Ahmedabad on account of pandemic of Covid-19 cannot be compared with the situation in Puri or in the State of Orissa”.
Several third party interveners – including a builder and BJP media cell representative, Gujarat government, Patan Jagannath mandir, “a devotee”, and the mahant of the temple of “Lord Jagannath’s uncle (mausal)” in Saraspur — approached the HC till as late as 11 pm on Monday seeking permission for the procession, all of which were rejected.
In an order issued around 2 am Tuesday, hours before the procession was to begin, the court said, “Despite the fact that assurance being given by the State and all other applicants we still do not find any good ground to recall or modify our order dated 20.06.2020. All Civil Applications are accordingly rejected.”
The district of Ahmedabad has recorded more than 3.5 times the number of Covid-19 cases recorded in the state of Odisha.
A division bench of the HC, comprising Chief Justice Nath and Justice J B Pardiwala, had on June 20 directed that there would be no Rath Yatra in Ahmedabad or any district in Gujarat this year on account of the coronavirus pandemic, following two applications moved for urgent hearing.
By Monday, the HC was swamped with applications largely propelled by the Supreme Court’s decision to modify its own order of June 18 where it had stayed the procession in Puri, Odisha.
With pleas for modification from several quarters, a bench of the Chief Justice and Justice Pardiwala was constituted around 12.45 am Tuesday and hearing began 1 am. As the state argued, the bench remained resolute in its decision.
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