NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Uttar Pradesh government to apprise it by July 19 on whether it would reconsider its decision to hold a “symbolic” Kanwar Yatra in the state, saying the right to life is paramount.
A bench of Justices RF Nariman and B R Gavai said that it is of the prima face view that all kinds of sentiments are subservient to Article 21 of the Constitution.
It said the “Uttar Pradesh government cannot be allowed to hold Kanwar Yatra in view of Covid”.
The top court’s direction came after the Uttar Pradesh government told the bench that it has decided after relevant discussions to hold a “symbolic” Kanwar Yatra with appropriate Covid restrictions.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta for the Centre told the top court that states shall not be allowed to hold Kanwar Yatra in view of Covid and arrangements for Ganga water should be made by tankers at specified places.
The counsel for Uttarakhand told the top court that it has by its notification has decided to ban Kanwar Yatra for this year due to COVID-19.
On July 14, the top court had had taken suo motu cognisance of media reports on the Uttar Pradesh government’s decision to allow ‘Kanwar Yatra’ amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and sought responses from the state as well as the Centre “given the disparate political voices” on the matter.
It had referred to the statement of Prime Minister Narendra Modi that not even a bit of compromise can be made on COVID-19 containment and said the citizens were perplexed about the happenings in view of the fact that the UP government has allowed the religious ‘yatra’ commencing from July 25.
It had issued notices to the Centre and the state governments of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.