SC stays NGT order on Vaishno Devi shrine

The Supreme Court on Monday stayed the National Green Tribunal's order on opening a new pathway to the Vaishno Devi shrine in Jammu for pedestrians and the use of battery-operated cars from November 24.

A bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta stayed the November 13 directions by the NGT after Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board - which manages the day-to-day affairs as well as pilgrimage to the temple - said that the construction work of the path was not yet complete and that it would be opened by February end next year.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, representing the board, said there was difficulty in construction work due to the arrival of winter in the area.

The court issued a notice to activist Gauri Maulekhi on whose plea the orders were passed by the green panel, including capping the number of visitors to the shrine at 50,000 per day. It had also said that no horses or mules shall be allowed for carrying pilgrims.

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