Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
Adjustment of judicial tone to the tune of majoritarian religion is the reality that we see in the order of the Supreme Court of India’s Monday Order in the matter of Rath Yatra of SriJagannatha at Puri, Orissa.
This great festival reflects the splendid uniqueness Orissa’s Buddhist past and the matchless mana of the matriarchal race of the Oriyas. So, the Supreme Court decision to change its earlier order to allow the Rath Yatra is a matter of soleful celebration for the people of Orissa. And we celebrate.
But, as democrat Indians, we are unable to appriciate the Supreme Court’s indulgence in hoodwinking the Law. The Order is beyond execution and is bound to lead to manipulation of records to hoodwink the Law.
Orissa Government has been ordered by the Supreme Court to maintain a record of persons allowed in Rath Yatra, with details of their medical conditions after testing. The Order was pronounced when the Monday Sun was preparing to set. The Rath Yatra commences before the sun rises on Tuesday.Is it possible for the Government of Orissa to ensure all who would be “allowed” in the Yatra test “negative” before being allowed, with details of the tests?
Was the Supreme Court sure of the Orissa Government’s capacity of testing all the Chariot-pullers and servitors to be allowed in the Yatra within such small period of time to decidedly determine that they are COVID-19 negative? Has the Supreme Court convinced itself that the Government of Orissa is competent and equipped to prepare a register of persons allowed in Rath Yatra with details of their medical condition after testing? The Supreme Court should honestly reveal it, this being relevant to life of the people.
The Supreme Court, in view of its such order, should have appointed its representative to inspect this register before allowing people in the Rath Yatra. It has not.
In its writ, the Court has stipulated that each Rath, i.e, Chariot, shall be pulled by not more than 500 persons. Each of those 500 persons shall be tested for the Coronavirus. They shall be permitted to pull the chariot only if they have been found negative. We stress on the word “shall”. This stipulation makes testing of Coronavirus an inviolable prerequiste for Chariot pulling. Earlier testing reports shall have no relevance.
While writing this report, I am watching Sudarshana’s Pahandi.
I call upon the Supreme Court Judges to watch it. Is there any social distancing? No. I insist that the Judges should react.
Have they, behind our back,and off the records, amended the COVID-19 Regulations of Orissa to allow such violation of social distancing? Have they changed the Epidemic (amendment) Act to protect the Order-brakers in Pahandi and events of the likes? No. I insist, as a law abiding citizen, that the Supreme Court judges should react to this.
Rule of Law cannot and mustn’t be allowed to get burried like this, so that religious majoritarianism succeeds in doing away with the spirit and the purpose of India.
The Supreme Court must order itself to desist from making any order that cannot be orderly executed.