HE Uttarakhand High Court Monday stayed a state cabinet decision on opening the Char Dham Yatra for the residents of Uttarkashi, Rudraprayag and Chamoli districts for a period of four weeks.
A division bench of Chief Justice Raghavendra Singh Chauhanand Alok Kumar Verma said the lives of the people could be exposed to the Delta Plus variant, and to the third wave of COVID-19 if the Char Dhar Yatra was permitted and this would be an invitation to a catastrophe.
“The Cabinet will unnecessarily expose the people to the dangers of the third wave. Thus, the decision is against Article 21 of the Constitution of India, against Articles 39(e) & 39(f) and against Article 47 of the Constitution of India. It also ignores India’s commitment to the International Conventions”, the bench held.
The bench also directed the state government to ensure that the ceremonies, pujas and archanas, carried out within the sanctum sanctorum of the Char Dham temples, be live-streamed for the benefit of the people at large.
“The government should make sure that the live streaming is done throughout the country, so that the devotees may not only witness the deity, but may also pray to the same”, the court said.
It added state government could not plead that merely because a few priests may object to the live streaming, it would succumb to their pressure.
“What is of paramount importance is to save the lives of the people. It is, indeed, trite to state that when there is a conflict between the right of an individual and the right of a community, the latter will always take precedent over the former”, the Court said.
The court also opined that “since our ancestors were unaware of the development of a technology that would permit live streaming, the possibility of our Shastras prohibiting live streaming of a religious ceremony is absolutely impossible”.