State govt has no right to interfere in affairs of Devasom Board: Kerala HC

KC Gopakumar Kochi | Updated on November 05, 2018 Published on November 05, 2018

Devotees arrive at Sabarimala Temple, in Pathanamthitta District on Monday.   -  PTI

‘Can look at law and order issues but cannot dictate terms to the Board’

A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on Monday said the State government has no power to interfere in the day-to-day affairs of the Travancore Devasom Board (TDB) which manages the Sabarimala temple.

The Bench, comprising Justices PR Ramachandra Menon and N Anil Kumar, made the oral observation when a writ petition filed by TR Ramesh of Thiruvananthapuram came up. The petition sought a directive to the TDB not to implement any oral or written directives of the Kerala Chief Minister or the Minister for Devaswom, on religious matters and entry of pilgrims at Sabarimala.

The Bench remarked that while the State government can look into law-and-order issues, it cannot dictate terms to the TDB on the affairs of thetemple.

The petitioner alleged that the Chief Minister and Minister for Devaswom were interfering in Sabarimala matters.

Senior Counsel for the petitioner, K Ramakumar, contended that the laws did not vest the government with power to interfere in the management of the temples under the TDB.

He also contended that the government had taken over the guest houses of the Kerala Water Authority and the Board. In fact, he said, the government did not have the power to give oral or verbal directives to the TDB on running the temples under the board. The court directed the State government to file an affidavit on November 12 in response to the petition.

The Bench also came down heavily on the government action to prevent mediapersons from entering Nilakkal, Pampa and Sabarimala.

Allowing the media in would help ascertain what was happening at the Sabarimala temple and nearby places, it added.

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Published on November 05, 2018
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