The High Court of Gujarat has said that there will be no Rath Yatra this year at Ahmedabad and at any other district in the state of Gujarat.
The bench comprising Chief Justice Vikram Nath and Justice JB Pardiwala was hearing two petitions seeking directions for restraining the carrying out of the RathYatra organized by Shri Jagannath Mandir Trust in the wake of the present pandemic situation of COVID-19 and in particular in relation to city of Ahmedabad which has more than 15,000 COVID positive cases and the mortality rate in the city being the highest in the country and the figures having crossed more than 1000.
The petitioners submitted that the “RathYatra has total passage of 8 to 9 Kilometers one way i.e. total of 16 to 18 Kilometers and it passes through three Containment Zones and one Buffer Containment Zone. Once the procession starts, it would be very difficult to stop the public at large from joining the Rath Yatra.
Counsels told the Bench that based on the previous years’ estimates, the regular gathering of this procession is about 6,00,000 to 8,00,000 people, and this would be disastrous if it happens.
The petitioner further informed the bench that as per the newspaper reports, the Jagannath Mandir Trust, the organizer of the RathYatra had applied on May 18 to the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation and to the Police Commissioner, Ahmedabad for granting appropriate permission and for making necessary arrangements so that smooth and safe passage is provided to the Rath Yatra, but till date no decision has been taken on the said request of the Trust.
The bench hearing the submissions directed the Commissioner, Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation, the Police Commissioner, Ahmedabad and also the Additional Chief Secretary, Department of Home, Government of Gujarat, to file their respective affidavits explaining the reasons and circumstances why the application was not disposed of well within time and keeping the matter looming at large till the end and then compelling the parties to rush to the Court for urgent circulation.