Supreme Court of India: While closing the suo motu case regarding “Kanwar Yatra during pandemic”; the Division Bench comprising of Rohinton Fali Nariman and B.R. Gavai, JJ., directed the authorities to be cautious towards public health and safety. The Bench stated,
“We may only remind the authorities at all levels to have regard to Article 144 of the Constitution, and ensure that untoward incidents which directly affect the lives of the public will be looked upon sternly and prompt action taken immediately.”
Earlier, on 16-07-2021, the Court had adopted a strict approach to address the casualness of the authorities with regard to the commencement of Kanwar Yatra. Observing the affidavit filed by the U.P. Government which explained as to how “symbolic” physical Kanwar yatra will take place, the Bench had asked the government that given the Covid pandemic and the fear that looms over all the citizens of India of a third wave of the pandemic whether the authorities would be in a position to reconsider holding or the allowing, for compelling religious reasons, of this yatra in physical form at all.
Responding to the Court’s anguish, the U.P. government had submitted before the Court that all the Kanwar Sanghs of the respective districts had given in writing their consent that in view of health and safety of the Public, Kanwar Yatra will be postponed by them and they will voluntarily not take out any Kanwar Yatra in the current year.
Considering that the pattern of last year is to be followed by the State of Uttar Pradesh, in which it is clear that the “Kanwar Sanghs” of the various districts have given in writing their consent to postpone Kanwar Yatra in view of the health and safety of the public, the Bench closed the matter while reiterating its previous order to remind the authorities that
“We are of the view that this is a matter which concerns everyone of us as citizens of India, and goes to the very heart of Article 21 of the Constitution of India, which has a pride of place in the fundamental rights Chapter of our Constitution. The health of the citizenry of India and their right to “life” are paramount. All other sentiments, al beit religious, are subservient to this most basic fundamental right.”
Additionally, considering the request of intervener, Mr K. Radhakrishnan, the Bench warned the Union and the State governments to remain vigilant and not be complacent to contain the infectious or contagious diseases which have inter-state ramifications.[Alarming Newspaper Report Regarding Kanwar Yatra in State Of U.P., In Re., Sou Motu Writ (C) No. 5 of 2021, decided on 16-07-2021 and 19-07-2021]
Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.
Appearance before the Court by:
Mr. C.S Vaidyanathan, Sr. Adv
Mr. Garima Prasad, AAG
Mr. Saran Dev Singh Thakur, AAG
Mr. Mahesh Takur, Adv.
Mr. Pradeep Misra, AOR
Mr. Suraj Singh, Adv.
Dr. Abhishek Atrey, AOR
Ms. Ambika Atrey, Adv.
Mr. Tushar Mehta, SG
Ms. Aishwarya Bhati, ASG
Mr. S.P.V. Raju, ASG
Mr. Rajat Nair, Adv.
Mr. Zoheb Hussain, Adv.
Ms. Sairica Raju, Adv.
Mr. Kanu Agrawal, Adv.
Mr. Digvijay Dam, Adv.
Mr. B. V. Balaram Das, AOR
Mr. M. K. Maroria, Adv.
Mr. K. Radhakrishnan, Sr. Adv.
Mr. Vikas Singh, Sr. Adv.
Ms. Preeti Singh, AOR