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Registered Headload Workers Not Entitled To Insist On Being Engaged In Loading-Unloading Activities At Sabarimala: Kerala High Court

Hannah M Varghese
26 Nov 2021 4:07 PM GMT
Registered Headload Workers Not Entitled To Insist On Being Engaged In Loading-Unloading Activities At Sabarimala: Kerala High Court
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The Kerala High Court has ruled that registered headload workers have no legal right to insist that they should be engaged in the loading and unloading activities in Sabarimala, Pampa and Nilackal.A Division Bench of Justice Anil K. Narendran and Justice P.G. Ajithkumar after being informed that Nilackal, Pampa and Sabarimala are not Scheme covered areas, observed:"Having considered the report...

The Kerala High Court has ruled that registered headload workers have no legal right to insist that they should be engaged in the loading and unloading activities in Sabarimala, Pampa and Nilackal.

A Division Bench of Justice Anil K. Narendran and Justice P.G. Ajithkumar after being informed that Nilackal, Pampa and Sabarimala are not Scheme covered areas, observed:

"Having considered the report of the Special Commissioner, Sabarimala and also the submissions made by the learned counsel on both sides, we deem it appropriate to direct additional respondents 6 to 8 to take necessary steps to ensure that the loading and unloading or the transportation of Pooja articles, raw materials for making prasadam and Annadanam, etc. and other articles and goods for providing facilities to the pilgrims in Nilackal, Pampa and Sannidhanam, by the Travancore Devaswom Board, its contractors and other parties engaged in the Temple for allied activities like providing facilities to the pilgrims are not obstructed in any manner by any loading and unloading workers, their Unions or supporters."

The Court was considering the question of whether the headload workers under the Kerala Headload Workers Act, 1978 and the Scheme framed thereunder, have any right to claim loading and unloading activities at Sabarimala, Pampa and Nilackal.

After referring to several decisions on this aspect, the Court concluded as such:

"Viewed in the light of the law laid down in the decisions referred to, the conclusion is irresistible that the headload workers having registration under the relevant statute have absolutely no legal right to insist that they should be engaged for the loading and unloading activities in Sabarimala, Pampa and Nilackal." 

This development ensued after the Special Commissioner, Sabarimala reported that a cartel of persons claiming to be the headload workers was causing obstructions to the loading and unloading of Pooja articles and also other articles and goods for providing facilities to the pilgrims in Pampa and Sannidhanam. 

all the activities carried on in Sabarimala, Pampa and Nillackal are to facilitate activities of the temples situated therein and to provide facilities to pilgrims. Pooja articles, raw materials for making prasadam, raw materials for Annadanam, etc., are being transported by the Travancore Devaswom Board, by tractors, from Pampa to Sannidhanam.

Since the Board is expected to provide support and facilities to the pilgrims, there are hotels and shops by the Board. The goods and articles for these hotels and shops and also materials for construction activities are being transported by tractors from Pampa to Sannidhanam.

It was alleged that a cartel of persons claiming to be the headload workers is obstructing the loading and unloading activities, adversely affecting the transportation of goods and articles to Sannidhanam.

The Bench thereby directed the District Police Chief and the Station House Officer to take necessary steps to ensure that there are no law and order issues at Sabarimala, Pampa and Nilackal in connection with the loading and unloading or the transportation of such articles.

It was further ordered that in case of any threat or obstruction from any corner, the Police shall render necessary protection to all such activities.

As such, the matter was closed. 

Case Title: Suo Motu v. Travancore Devaswom Board


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