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Can't Make A Hasty Decision In The Matter: Kerala High Court Refuses To Stay Appointment Of Melshanti At Sabarimala Temple

Hannah M Varghese
28 July 2021 12:30 PM GMT
Cant Make A Hasty Decision In The Matter: Kerala High Court Refuses To Stay Appointment Of Melshanti At Sabarimala Temple
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This is a matter that requires further consideration, the Court clarified.

The Kerala High Court on Wednesday refused to stay the notification issued by the Travancore Devaswom Board calling for applications to the post of Melshanti at the Sabarimala Temple only from Malayala Brahmins. A Division Bench of Justice CT Ravi Kumar and Justice Murali Purashothaman observed,"We cannot pass an interim order at the moment. This matter calls for detailed...

The Kerala High Court on Wednesday refused to stay the notification issued by the Travancore Devaswom Board calling for applications to the post of Melshanti at the Sabarimala Temple only from Malayala Brahmins. 

A Division Bench of Justice CT Ravi Kumar and Justice Murali Purashothaman observed,

"We cannot pass an interim order at the moment. This matter calls for detailed consideration before we can come to a conclusion. At the same time, we refrain from making any observations on the merits of the case. This is not a matter where one can make a hasty decision." 

The Court thereby directed the Board to file counter-affidavits in the case and posted the matter for 12th August for further hearing.

This development comes after a priest Vishnu Narayanan filed a petition seeking to quash the aforementioned notification. Multiple similar petitions were filed by aggrieved persons such as Sijith TL, who are otherwise eligible for the post except for the caste criteria, praying for the same relief. They argue that such a stipulation (confined to a particular caste) is directly contrary to Article 14 of the Constitution.

During the proceedings today, Advocate BG Harindranath appearing for the petitioner urged for an interim order to the effect of staying the said notification. It was submitted that a stay was necessary since the last date for submitting an application for the post already expired on 17th July, and argued that if the Board completed the process soon, their petition would become infructuous.

Advocate Santhosh Mathew also appeared in the matter. Advocate T.R.Rajesh appeared on behalf of Sijith T.L and submitted similar arguments.  

However, the court was not convinced of this contention.

The notification issued by the Travancore Devaswom Board inviting applications for the posts of Sabarimala and Malikappuram Melsanthis stipulated that the applicants must be from the Malayala Brahmin community. The Petitioners submitted that such a condition is entirely contrary to the noble concepts of the Constitution as enunciated in the various judgments of the Supreme Court.

They argue that appointment to the post of Melasanthi has been held to be a secular act and hence it ought not to have been confined to one particular community, especially in an institution administered by the Travancore Devaswom Board, which is fully controlled by the Government of Kerala.

The petitioner has prayed before the Court to declare that all persons of Hindu religion having the other qualifications except that of Malayala Brahmin are entitled to be appointed as Melsanthi in Sabarimala/Malikappuram temple under the Travancore Devaswom Board.

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