Jammu: The Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Monday directed the Union Territory authorities to ensure that around 400 pilgrims from Bihar, stranded at Mata Vaishno Devi shrine, are not vacated from the hotels and are provided with adequate facilities during the nationwide lockdown to combat coronavirus.
A division bench headed by Chief Justice Gita Mittal passed these directions after hearing amicus curiae Monika Kholi in a public interest litigation.
In a first for the high court, the chief justice and Justice Sindhu Sharma heard the PIL from their respective residences and Kohli and two more lawyers gave their observations through video-conferencing, an intiative taken in view of the coronavirus outbreak.
In the 11-page order issued after the hearing, the judges took note of Kohli who had submitted that because of the sudden lockdown about 400 pilgrims from Bihar are stranded at Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine in Katra.
Kohli also submitted that these pilgrims are being asked to vacate their current lodgings and that immediate steps need to be taken in view of current lockdown in the Union Territory.
The order said that a direction is issued to the Chief Executive Officer, Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board, and the Deputy Commissioner, Reasi to ensure that these pilgrims are not asked to vacate their current lodgings and their needs are fully provided for till such time as the lockdown persists.
“All notifications/directions issued by the Central Government and the Government of the UT of JK to ensure that there is no dislodging of people from their habitations and also provisions or facilities, are strictly complied with,” the order said.