Supreme Court takes cognisance of UP government’s decision to allow Kanwar Yatra, issues notice to state

The Uttar Pradesh government’s decision to allow ‘Kanwar Yatra’ amid COVID hasn’t gone down well with the apex court of the country. On Wednesday (July 14), the Supreme Court took cognisance of the UP government’s decision to allow the yatra in the state in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. A bench headed by Justice RF Nariman issued a notice to the state government and posted the matter for hearing on Friday (July 16).

The Yogi Adityanath government on Tuesday (July 13) allowed the yatra from July 25 despite concerns raised in various quarters over the risk posed by such events in triggering a possible third wave of COVID-19. Meanwhile, the Uttarakhand government has cancelled the Kanwar Yatra in view of a possible third wave. Pushkar Singh Dhami had reportedly said that though Kanwar Yatra is part of Sanatan culture, saving lives in the time of the pandemic was paramount. 

The top court said that it has read something in the newspaper on Wednesday that Uttar Pradesh has chosen to continue with the Kanwar Yatra while Uttarakhand, with hindsight of experience, had said there will be no yatra. The bench said, “We wish to know the stand of the respective governments. The citizens of India are completely perplexed. They do not know what is going on.”

The bench emphasized that such decisions were being taken even after Prime Minister Narendra Modi has already said that “we cannot compromise even one bit”. The bench added it is issuing notices to the concerned state governments and the Centre, because the yatra is scheduled to leave from July 24. “We want them to file an early response so that the matter can be heard on Friday,” added the bench.

The Indian Medical Association had also earlier written to Chief Minister Dhami asking him to not allow the yatra to go ahead in the interest of the people of the state and the country.

(With Agency inputs)

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