SC sets aside NGT or­der on stric­tures for devo­tees

The Free Press Journal - - NATION -

The Supreme Court on Mon­day set aside a Na­tional Green Tri­bunal (NGT) or­der that had cre­ated a con­tro­versy by putting re­stric­tions on devo­tees ask­ing them to main­tain si­lence while stand­ing in front of the 'Maha Shivalinga', a nat­u­ral for­ma­tion in­side the Amar­nath cave in South Kash­mir Hi­malayas.

The top court said that the De­cem­ber 14 last year's or­der should not have been passed by the NGT on a pe­ti­tion which did not con­cern the Amar­nath cave shrine.

Ob­serv­ing that due pro­ce­dure needed to be fol­lowed, a bench of Jus­tices MB Lokur and Deepak Gupta asked pe­ti­tioner Gauri Mulekhi to file an ap­pro­pri­ate pe­ti­tion with re­gard to the pol­lu­tion at the Amar­nath cave. The 'Shivalinga' is a sta­lag­mite formed by freez­ing of wa­ter drops fall­ing from the roof of the cave and grow­ing up ver­ti­cally from the cave floor.

Dur­ing the hear­ing, se­nior ad­vo­cate Mukul Ro­hatgi, ap­pear­ing for the Amar­nath Shrine Board, said the tri­bunal had "jumped the gun" and im­posed cer­tain re­stric­tions on chant­ing of re­li­gious hymns, car­ry­ing of de­vo­tional of­fer­ings (prasad) and use of mules to ferry devo­tees.

The bench asked an of­fi­cial of the Board why the devo­tees who can­not walk the dis­tance to the cave, not be dropped by he­li­copters.

The of­fi­cial said about 1000 peo­ple could be dropped by he­li­copters at a dis­tance of four kilo­me­tres from the cave, but they have to walk the re­main­ing part.

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