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SC picks health over yatra; Gives UP govt time to reconsider

New Delhi: Supreme Court on Friday said that the health of the citizens of the country is of paramount importance and all other sentiments including religious sentiments are subservient to the same as it gave Uttar Pradesh government time till Monday to reconsider its decision to allow Kanwar Yatra this year during the pandemic.

“We are of prima facie view that it concerns all of us 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,” a bench of Justices Rohinton Nariman and BR Gavai said.

The Court further remarked that the State of Uttar Pradesh will not be allowed to go ahead with the Yatra. “State of Uttar Pradesh cannot go ahead with it. 100 percent,” it said.

After the court took a suo-moto cognisance of the issue, the state government said that it would be inappropriate to ban the Hindu pilgrimage yatra completely. “Thus, the state disaster management authority thought to conduct it in a symbolic manner with ‘Gangajal’ be made available in tankers (instead of collecting it from Haridwar),” Senior Advocate CS Vaidyanathan submitted on behalf of UP, adding that the ‘Gangajal’ can then be taken to nearest Shiv temple for ‘abhishek’.

To which the Supreme Court said that the State will have to rethink whether this physical yatra should be permitted at all.

“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. Either you reconsider to have it at all or we deliver,” Justice Nariman remarked.

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