The Supreme Court on Monday, 19 July, disposed of the suo motu case taken up to stop Kanwar Yatra in Uttar Pradesh, after taking on record the state government's statement that it has decided to cancel the religious event this year in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The apex court also asked Uttar Pradesh authorities at all levels, including the police, to take a stern view of any violation of COVID-19 norms or attempt to take out any Yatra and take immediate action to stop any action that poses threat to the lives of citizens, reported news agency ANI.
On Saturday, the Kanwar Sangh decided to call off the Kanwar Yatra in Uttar Pradesh after an appeal by the government.
On Wednesday, the court had taken suo motu cognisance of the UP's nod to allow the Kanwar Yatra amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and issued a notice to the Yogi Adityanath-led government regarding the same.
On Friday, the court had told the Uttar Pradesh government that it should reconsider its decision to hold the Kanwar Yatra physically, saying that it would otherwise pass an order.
"State of Uttar Pradesh cannot go ahead with it. 100 percent," the court had said.
The Uttar Pradesh government had filed an affidavit saying that it only wants to hold a symbolic Yatra but Senior Advocate CS Vaidyanathan had added that the State Disaster Management Authority deliberated upon this and decided that if someone wants to undertake the yatra physically, they should seek permission, have a negative RT-PCR test, and be fully vaccinated.
The UP government had decided that a total ban will be inappropriate, Vaidyanathan had further told the SC on Friday.
Responding to this, Justice Rohinton Nariman had said, "We can give you one more opportunity to consider holding the yatra physically at all. This or else we pass an order. We are all Indians and this suo motu has been taken up as Article 21 applies to all of us. Either you reconsider to have it at all or we deliver."
The Supreme Court had asked the Uttar Pradesh government to inform the court about its decision on Monday.
Meanwhile, the Centre on Friday had informed the Supreme Court that states must not permit movement of kanwariyas for bringing gangajal from Haridwar to Shiv temples of their choice, in view of COVID-19, reported Bar & Bench.
However, the Centre in its affidavit had said that considering the religious significance of the Kanwar Yatra, states should make gangajal available through tankers at designated locations.
State governments must also ensure that the distribution of gangajal amongst devotees and the rituals must be carried out in adherence to all COVID health protocols, the affidavit had added.
(With inputs from ANI and Bar & Bench.)