CHENNAI: The Tamil Nadu government on Thursday informed the Madras high court that it has decided to deny permission for BJP’s proposed ‘Vel Yatra’ (rally) in view of the Covoid-19 pandemic.
The BJP is planning to conduct the Vetrivel Yatra from Tiruttani to Tiruchendur, covering six abodes of Lord Murugan, starting on November 6 and ending on December 6.
“As per a government order dated October 31, religious, social and political gatherings would be permitted with not more than 100 people only after November 15,” advocate general Vijay Narayan said.
The submissions were made in response to two public interest litigations moved by activist P Senthil Kumar and a journalist N Balamurugan seeking to restrain the BJP Tamil Nadu unit from organising the rally since the pandemic is not yet over.
Opposing the stand of the state government, advocate V Ragavachari representing the BJP argued that the state was not above the law and it had to follow the guidelines issued by the Centre which permitted such religious gatherings.
To this, the first bench of Chief Justice AP Sahi and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy said that the party could not take such a stand without challenging the GO dated October 31 which prohibited such gatherings till November 15.
“We would have challenged the GO if the state had rejected our representation seeking permission for the rally citing the GO. But the authorities concerned are yet to pass any orders on the same,” Ragavachari answered.
He added that the vehicle (yatra) was going to be on the move and there would not be any gathering.
Refusing to accept the same, the bench said it could not rely on such oral submissions.
Noting that they were going into the merits of the case, the bench said, “It is open to the state government to pass appropriate order on the representation seeking permission for the rally.”
“If any of the parties to the petitions are aggrieved by such order, they are free to approach the court challenging the same,” the court said and disposed of the pleas.