HC asks Centre to treat as representation plea to prohibit kanwariyas above 60 yrs from pilgrimage

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Published: June 17, 2020 2:55 PM

The petition, which came up before a bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan, said that as per the government reports, the COVID-19 pandemic has been most lethal for those in 60-plus age group.

Delhi High Court, Kanwar Yatra, kanwariyas, prohibition of kanwariyas above 60 years, covid 19 pandemic, latest news on kanwar yatraIt also sought to direct the Centre to issue appropriate notification in this regard and publicise it. (File photo)

The Delhi High Court Wednesday asked the Centre to treat as representation a plea seeking to prohibit ‘kanwariyas’ above 60 years, particularly those with co-morbidities, from undertaking this year’s ‘Kanwar Yatra’ which is starting from July 6.

The petition, which came up before a bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan, said that as per the government reports, the COVID-19 pandemic has been most lethal for those in 60-plus age group.

The sheer number of pilgrims participating in the ?Kanwar Yatra’ or pilgrimage ensures infinite social contacts of the kanwariyas among them and with the rest of the community, which is a very high-risk situation not only for the aged and co-morbid kanwaryias, but also for their family members and the whole community, it said.

Petitioner and advocate Subhash Vijayran said the obstinacy of his 66-and-a-half-year old father, who is a chronic smoker with respiratory co-morbidities, to undertake ‘Kanwar Yatra’ from July 6 to 19 has compelled him to approach the court praying for a moratorium on this year’s ‘Kanwar Yatra’ for pilgrims of over 60 years of age.

During the hearing, central government standing counsel Anil Soni referred to the Ministry of Home Affairs guidelines for phased reopening and said till today large congregations and religious functions are prohibited, so the PIL is not maintainable.

Regarding the petitioner’s prayer to stop his father from going in ‘Kanwar Yatra’, Soni said he (father) is a mature person and cannot be stopped from practicing his religion.

The plea said during ‘Kanwar Yatra’, tens of millions of ‘kanwariyas’ walk hundreds of miles  starting from Haridwar, Gaumukh and Gangotri in Uttarakhand and Sultanganj in Bihar to their residences, carrying Ganga jal or the holy water of the Ganges on their shoulders.

It also sought to direct the Centre to issue appropriate notification in this regard and publicise it.

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