The Supreme Court on Tuesday, 6 July, rejected the petitions seeking permission to conduct the Rath Yatra at various places in Odisha apart from the Puri Jagannath temple where it has been allowed, news agency PTI reported.
"You want to pray to the God. You can do it from home. I also wanted to go to Puri but I couldn't in the last one-and-a-half years. This isn't the time. We hope God will allow us these rituals next year," Chief Justice of India NV Ramana was quoted as saying during the hearing.
On 10 June, the Odisha government had announced that devotees will be restricted from participating in the Rath Yatra, which will only be held in Puri with strict enforcement of COVID-19 protocols.
The religious festival will be held on 12 July. Last year too, the devotees were barred from taking part in the yatra.
Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) PK Jena had said that all Supreme Court guidelines issued last year will be pertinent on the occasion. He had said, "This year also, Lord Jagannath's Rath Yatra will be held sans devotees in Puri. The administration has prohibited similar celebrations in other parts of the state."
The state government was against the holding of yatras in areas other than Puri, while Solicitor General Tushar Mehta had suggested they could be permitted, but subject to COVID-related curbs and keeping the attendance of people limited.