Supreme Court’s Order on Rath Yatra was an Avoidable Overreach

It is a welcome that the Supreme Court of India has reviewed its decision of 18th June wherein it banned the Jagannath Rath Yatra (chariot procession festival) at Puri, which started from today. Jagannath Rat Yatra is attached to the sentiments and faiths of millions of people, then why the permission for symbolic Yatra, as it has been given now, was not given at the first place is beyond logic and law of our understanding? My friend Ipshit Pratihari, who is also one of the servitors, was totally distraught and heartbroken on the 18th of June to learn the order of the Supreme Court. This Yatra is happening at a time when the world is facing an extraordinary problem due to Wuhan Virus but when all activities are allowed to go on with proper distancing and by wearing of the masks, then there should not have been any problem in permitting the Yatra.
The Yatra is not posing any law and order problem, social disaffection, or ill will among the people. It has been continuing for hundreds of years barring a gap of a few years when Lord Jagannath was shifted to another place but even there also the Yatra was never impeded. Yatra is egalitarian in nature, which used to be watched by lakhs of people but this year only survivors will be allowed to pull the chariot. Anyway, the Supreme Court has set aside its own order, which indeed is praiseworthy. It is always better late than never.
If at all, there could be any objection, it should have come from the environmentalists because hundreds of trees are felled to make Rath for the Lord Jagannath, Balram and Subhadra, in which they move from sanctum sanctorum to the house of their Mausi (maternal aunt). In the changing times when the trees are depleting some alternative arrangements must be made.
However, I have a different issue to raise on this occasion. It is related to Judicial interference in such matters, which are innocuous in nature. Separation of power is the quintessence of our constitution, although no Article mentions it specifically.
The Executive, the Legislature, and the Judiciary have got their role assigned. There are checks and balances to prevent overreach. The question is if Parliament, which is the supreme law-making body, traverses beyond its periphery, then the judiciary is there to checkmate it. The Executive is often pulled up by the Judiciary and sometimes by the legislature. But what to do of the Judiciary, when it treads the path of activism and takes recourse of overreach? This issue must be settled once for all to clear the cobwebs of confusion. We have adopted constitutional democracy but can get it sustenance from social morality?
If a tradition, which is imbibed as faith by millions and which poses no problem for others, should not be disturbed. Fairs and festivals invigorate the life of the people. Let me hasten to add that if any tradition is discriminatory especially among the faithful, it must be done away with by the judicial fiat. Like it is in Sabarimala, which is highly discriminatory and goes against the grains and the very ethos of Hinduism, as the temple administration does not allow the women between 10 to 50 years to enter the temple and offer prayers. It is weird and ridiculous logic to say that since Lord Ayapana is a Bramhachari, so he cannot give darshan to menstruating women. If the Lord’s celibacy is so fragile as it flinches by the mere sight of menstruating women, then what can be said about him? After all, Lord Ayapana is not a bigger Brahmachari than Lord Hanuman, whose temples are open for all men and women, old and children alike.
This matter certainly needs to be decided by the Supreme Court considering the objections raised by the women devotees. But the Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath needed no judicial interference, where devotes are always ready to follow the guidelines to contain the spread of Pandemic. Was it not the wastage of precious judicial time of the Supreme Court?