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SC| Jahnavi Bhuptani | Social Thikana 

Pic credit ~ Gayatri Kasibhatta

The Supreme Court on 16th of July gave another chance to the Uttar Pradesh Government to reconsider holding the Kanwar Yatra. This was done amid the growing speculations and apprehensions about the third wave of the COVID-19 Pandemic. The Bench led by Justice Rohinton F. Nariman and Justice B. R. Gavai said that at the given point of time, the fear of a third wave of COVID-19 pandemic looms large over all Indians, therefore, the authorities shall reconsider allowing this traditional pilgrimage at all for compelling religious reasons. The Court also gave one of the reasons for not conducting the Kanwar Yatra as the presence of Article 21 of the Indian Constitution which is ‘right to life’. The Court mentioned that since Article 21 applies to everyone, holding the Kanwar Yatra shouldn’t be allowed at all.

Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta who appeared for the Centre stated that the state must not allow the movement of Kanwariyas to bring Ganga Jal from Haridwar to a Shiv Temple of their choice. However, the state must make sure that all the devotees can get Ganga Jal by any other means, like through tankers on designated locations.

CS Vaidyanathan, appearing for the State of UP, submitted, “The state wants to conduct the symbolic Kanwar Yatra, with proper social distancing and adhering to all the norms of prevention of Novel Coronavirus.” Earlier on July 14, the apex court had taken suo motu cognisance and issued notice to the Uttar Pradesh Government for giving green signal to the Kanwar Yatra from July 25, even as the cases of Novel Coronavirus showed an upswing in the state.

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