The Uttarakhand High Court postponed the Chardham Yatra on Monday, overturning a state cabinet decision to allow it to begin on July 1 for residents of three districts.
Chief Justice R S Chauhan and Justice Alok Kumar Verma stayed the decision to allow residents of Chamoli, Rudraprayag, and Uttarkashi districts to visit Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri, and Yamunotri during the yatra amid the Covid pandemic, expressing their displeasure with the state government’s arrangements for pilgrims and tourists during the yatra.
On June 25, the state cabinet decided to open the yatra to the people of these districts, which are home to notable Himalayan temples.
But the Uttarakhand High Court has suspended the Uttarakhand State Cabinet’s decision to hold the Chardham Yatra, citing a prima facie case that the decision is arbitrary and unreasonable, and hence violates Article 14 of the Indian Constitution.
The Supreme Court’s bench of Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice Alok Kumar Verma ordered the government to guarantee that ceremonies, pujas, and archanas performed within the sanctum sanctorum of the Char Dham temples are live-streamed for the benefit of the general public.
The court stated it is sympathetic to the priests’ emotions in response to the state government’s concern that telecasting such events is not in keeping with traditions. However, the court noted that when the shastras (scriptures) were created, there was no technology such as television to communicate major events.
The court went on to say that saving everyone from the Delta Plus mutant of coronavirus is more essential than being attentive to the feelings of a few people. According to the petitioner’s lawyer, Dushyant Mainali, no physical authorization will be granted to anyone for the yatra now that the court has issued its ruling.
As a result, there is a strong prima facie case in favour of not allowing the Char Dham Yatra, even in a limited capacity. Because the Delta Plus variation, as well as the third wave of COVID-19, may represent a threat to people’s lives. If the Char Dhar Yatra is permitted, we will be inviting disaster once more.”
Finally, the Court decided that it would be in the public interest and in the interests of justice to put a four-week hold on the Cabinet’s decision regarding the launching of the Char Dham Yatra for the inhabitants of the districts of Uttarkashi, Rudraprayag, and Chamoli.