15 Sep 2023 2:10 PM GMT
A plea has been moved in the Kerala High Court challenging the construction of a toilet block as part of the 'Take a Break' scheme on the Devaswom land of Ayyappan Kavu Temple, Cherpulassery. The agreement entered into between the Cheruplassery Municipality Secretary and Temple's Managing Trustee also provided that the operation and maintenance of the 'Take a Break' centre shall be vested...
A plea has been moved in the Kerala High Court challenging the construction of a toilet block as part of the 'Take a Break' scheme on the Devaswom land of Ayyappan Kavu Temple, Cherpulassery.
The agreement entered into between the Cheruplassery Municipality Secretary and Temple's Managing Trustee also provided that the operation and maintenance of the 'Take a Break' centre shall be vested with the Municipality, which can take assistance from Kudumbashree workers.
Petitioner, a devotee of the Temple, apprehends that entrusting the temple land to the Municipality will result in encroachment of the temple property for other public purposes than the temple necessities.
"The entire temple ground is utilizing for the purpose of all temple festivals. Now the act of the respondents by the constructing the public toilets in the temple properties permitting the Beneral publie for using the same will cause the damage to the faith and belief of the devotees and the customs and the rituals prevailed to the temple," the plea states.
A Division Bench comprising Justice Anil K. Narendran and Justice Sophy Thomas was informed that toilet blocks were being constructed in other temples also, with permission from the Devaswom Commissioner. It was averred that toilet facilities in Cherpulassery Temple were insufficient.
However, Court was of the opinion that even if Cherpulassery Temple's Managing Trustee had obtained a similar permission from the Devaswom Commissioner, he could not have entered into an agreement for the operation and maintenance of the toilet by the Municipality in the Devaswom land.
"The learned Standing Counsel for Cherpulassery Municipality shall make available for the perusal of this Court the entire files relating to the construction of toilet block in Sree Ayyappan Kavu Temple. The learned Standing Counsel for Malabar Devaswom Board shall make available for the perusal of this Court the files relating to the general order, if any, passed by the Malabar Devaswom Board, permitting construction, operation and maintenance of toilet blocks in Devaswom land by the concerned Local Self Government Institution, through Kudumbashree," Court ordered.
It added that for the time being, the operation and maintenance of the toilet block could be permitted to be carried out by the temple authorities.
The plea sought to stop construction of toilet block in the temple compound. The Court had on July 27, ordered status quo in respect of the construction for a period of two weeks.
Yesterday, Temple's Managing Trustee informed the Court that construction of toilet 120 metres away from the compound wall of the temple was completed on April 30 itself.
While the petitioner asserted that the construction was funded by income of the temple and its devotees, the Municipality Secretary filed an affidavit stating that fund of Rs.20,00,000/- was collected from the the development fund of the Central and State funds of the Municipality.
The Court, on taking note of the various submissions, modified its earlier order and sought files regarding construction of the block, as well as the files pertaining to the general order passed by the Malabar Devaswom Board permitting such construction.
The matter has been posted for further consideration on October 13, 2023.
Counsel for the Petitioner: Advocate Krishnadas P. Nair, K.L. Sreekala, Haridas P. Nair, M.A. Vinod, M. Rajesh Kumar, K.G. Manoj Kumar, Shinto Thomas, Prasoon K.P., Vishnu Prasad, and Anu Prabhakar
Counsel for the Respondents: Standing Counsel for Cherpulassery Municipality Shameena Salahudheen, Standing Counsel for Malabar Devaswom Board R. Lakshmi Narayan, and Advocates K. Mohanakannan and D.S. Thushara
Case Title: P.N. Sreeraman v. The Secretary & Ors.
Case Number: W.P.(C) 24711/ 2023
Click Here To Read/Download The Order