Bhubaneswar: The Supreme Court on Tuesday made it clear that there will be no Rath Yatra at any place in Odisha except Puri.
A division bench headed by Chief Justice NV Ramana issued the directive while rejecting special leave petitions (SLP) filed by the Rath Yatra committees of Kendrapada, Nilagiri in Balasore district, and Bhatli in Bargarh district.
After examining the petitions filed against the Odisha government’s decision to conduct the Rath Yatra in Puri due to the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic, the bench rejected the pleas and upheld the decision of the government.
The Chief Justice said though he did not feel good to reject the petitions, he was undone. “We hope that God will give us the permission to conduct the yatra next year,” he hoped.
Notably, the Orissa High Court in its ruling on June 23 had rejected six petitions seeking intervention in the decision of the state government not to allow Rath Yatra at any place other than Puri.
While Rath Yatra committee of Bhatli and Nilagiri and Baripada had filed one petition each, the other petitions were filed by sevayats of Baladevjew temple in Kendrapada.
The petitions had sought permission to allow the celebration of the festival by pulling the chariots with a limited number of sevayats and police personnel by adhering to COVID-19 guidelines.
However, the division bench of Chief Justice S Muralidhar and Justice SK Panigrahi refused to interfere in the decision of the government citing the ruling of the Supreme Court related to Rath Yatra-2020 and disposed of the petitions. Challenging the High Court order, the committees had moved the apex court.
Earlier, the committees had submitted a memorandum to this effect to the Chief Secretary on June 11.