The Orissa High Court on Wednesday refused to intervene in the directions of Odisha government which has permitted the conduct of the Rath Yatra only only at Puri this year in view of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The court has also rejected the five petitions filled before it seeking permission to hold the Rath Yatra at two places including Baladevjew in Kendrapara, popularly known as Tulasi Khetra and Bhatli.
The nine-day festival had also been cancelled in Kendrapara and other parts of the State last year. The Rath Yatra festival was held in Puri under strict compliance of Covid-19 norms following the Supreme Court’s decision.
At least four petitions including one filed by servitors of the Sidhha Baladevjew temple before the State's top court making a prayer to allow the conduct of the annual festival with participation of only sevayats under strict adherence to Covid protocols.
Akhaya Kumar Pandey, advocate for the petitioner said that the Odisha government had earlier issued a notification and allowed the conduct of Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath in Puri and imposed restrictions on the conduct of the annual event in other places of the State.
“Challenging such directives, servitors and some NGOs had moved the Orissa High Court. We had prayed the court to allow conduct of Rath Yatra of Baladevjew in Kendrapara and had assured the court to follow all Covid protocols. Today, the Court after hearing all parties has refused to intervene in the matter,” said Pandey.
According to Pandey, “The next course of action will be taken after rstudying the High Court’s new directive as they are yet to receive the order copy.”