New Delhi: Expressing concern over rising incidents of deaths of Amarnath pilgrims on way to the holy shrine, the Supreme Court has sought explanation from the Centre and Jammu and Kashmir government on lack of proper medical and other facilities to them.
Taking suo motu note of media reports of pilgrims` deaths, a bench of justices BS Chauhan and Swatanter Kumar directed the two governments to explain the causes for the growing fatalities and the facilities, being provided to them.
"Some of the events that have been widely reported in the newspapers compel us to take a judicial notice of the lack of necessary facilities, essential amenities and the risk to the lives of the yatris, en route and around the Holy Cave of Amarnath," the bench said.
"...It is a matter of common knowledge that the path leading to the holy cave is not only very narrow but is even unprotected. The photographs also show that hardly any amenity is available for yatris in and around the holy cave, though thousands of people, who throng the holy cave, have to wait for hours and days for having the darshan," it said while referring to photographs published in national dailies.
The bench said every year the pilgrims are dying on their way to the holy cave and "it is again a matter of great regret that obviously because of the lack of proper aid and amenities, the death toll is rising."
"It is expected of the government and the concerned authorities to devote more attention and provide appropriate amenities and facilities to protect the lives of individuals, the environment as well as to make the yatra effective and successful, preferably without any human casualty," the apex court said.
"The authorities cannot shirk from their responsibility of providing minimum essential facilities, including medical assistance, roads and other necessary infrastructure," the bench said.
So far 74 people have lost their lives up to July 13 this year.