The Uttarakhand High Court on Monday stayed the state government decision to open Chardham Yatra partially for residents of three districts from July 1. The state cabinet had on June 25 decided to open the yatra for the residents of three districts such as Rudraprayag, Chamoli and Uttarkashi where Kedarnath, Badrinath, Yamnotri and Gangotri shrines are located.
The division bench comprising Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice Alok Verma snubbed officials after they submitted an affidavit and Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) related to the pilgrimage. The affidavit mentioned that RT-PCR report will be mandatory for all the pilgrims besides other Covid-19 appropriate norms.
Referring to fake Covid-19 test during Kumbh Mela case, the division bench asked, “who is going to believe on the RT-PCR tests." It is learnt a two-level probe is underway in the fake Covid-19 tests. The court said it seems SOPs are meant only to be implemented on papers.
“Honourable court was not satisfied by the measures mentioned in the affidavit on the backdrop of health concerns posed by the Covid-19. The court added it understands the feelings of pilgrims. The division bench therefore asked officials to make arrangements for live streaming of religious rituals from all four shrines. The officials have been instructed to come up with a plan before court on the next hearing," said advocate Dushyant Mainali, who is also one of the petitioners besides seven others who had filed different writ petitions related to the administrative laxity during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, the state government’s spokesperson Subodh Uniyal said the legal team will study the court order.