On Monday, the Uttarakhand High Court stayed for four weeks the state cabinet decision allowing Char Dham yatra for locals of three districts from July 1.
In April, Kumbh Mela was held in Haridwar. It was one of the contributory factors for the steep rise of the COVID-19 second wave.
Subodh Uniyal, State government spokesperson informed the media that the government will examine the HC order and if necessary, will move the Supreme Court.
Char Dham yatra to be started from July 1 for locals in the districts of Chamoli, Rudraprayag and Uttarkashi, where the shrines are located, was decided by the Uttarakhand cabinet.
“Needless to say, the second wave struck the country like a tsunami. It not only killed about 3 lakh people in the country, but in its wake it has also left devastated families, and orphaned children. It reached its zenith in April and May 2021. During that period, neither the lifesaving medicines were available, nor the oxygen tanks were available, nor sufficient numbers of bed were available, nor sufficient numbers of ambulances were available. The health care system began to crumble. Consequently, people had to run from pillar to post for seeking and begging only to be saved from the second wave,” an observation of the court in the order reads.
According to experts, the court said, it will take 18 months to vaccinate 70% of the population in Uttarakhand. Even if 100% population of Uttarakhand gets vaccinated, there is no confirmation that they will be protected from the Delta Plus variant.
The court shared that the cabinet decision will unnecessarily expose people to the dangers of the extenuating circumstances that can be caused by 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 order read.
“There is, thus, a strong prima facie case in favour of the people, for not permitting the Char Dham Yatra, even in a limited manner. For, the lives of the people may be exposed to the danger of the Delta Plus variant, and to the third wave of COVID-19. If the Char Dham Yatra were permitted, we would again be inviting a catastrophe,” the order reads.