Religious sentiments subservient to fundamental right to life and health of citizenry: Supreme Court on UP allowing Kanwar Yatra

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Updated: July 16, 2021 12:32 PM

The Centre has filed an affidavit in the top court stating that the movement of Kanwariyas for bringing Gangajal from Haridwar to the Shiv temples of their choice should not be allowed.

SC kanwar yatra Uttar pradeshThe kanwar yatra will start on 25th of July this year. (File photo)

The Supreme Court today told the Uttar Pradesh government that if the state doesn’t reconsider its decision to allow symbolic Kanwar Yatra in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the court will pass an order in this regard. Hearing the suo motu case, Justice Rohinton F Nariman-led bench of the apex court fixed the next date of hearing on Monday.

“We can give you one more opportunity to consider holding 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,” said Justice Nariman while hearing the case.

Justice Nariman said that prima facie, the court is of the view that the issue concerns all and is at the heart of the fundamental right to life. “The health of citizenry of India and right to life is paramount, all other sentiments whether be religious is subservient to this basic fundamental right,” said Justice Nariman.

Meanwhile, the Centre has filed an affidavit in the top court stating that the movement of Kanwariyas for bringing Gangajal from Haridwar to the Shiv temples of their choice should not be allowed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The next date of hearing has been set for Monday, July 19. The Kanwar Yatra is set to begin from July 25.

Senior Advocate CS Vaidyanathan told the court that the Uttar Pradesh government wanted a symbolic yatra. He informed the court that the UP State Disaster Management Authority deliberated upon the issue and has suggested that if someone wants to undertake the yatra, they should seek permission, have a negative RT-PCR test report and should be fully vaccinated.

“UP decided that total ban will be inappropriate thus the state disaster management authority thought to conduct it symbolically and an option will be given to kanwar sanghs to make Gangajal available in tankers,” he told the court representing Uttar Pradesh government.

The court also took note of the UP government’s submission that the state authorities will come out with an additional affidavit by Monday morning as to whether there can be a reconsideration of holding a physical yatra amid these conditions and posted the matter for Monday.

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