Sabarimala Violence : Kerala HC Takes Suo Moto Case On Special Commissioner's Report

Sabarimala Violence : Kerala HC Takes Suo Moto Case On Special Commissioner

The High Court of Kerala has taken suo moto case on violence which took place at Sabarimala on November 5, when the temple opened for 'Chithira Aatta Vishesham'. The Special Bench for Devaswom matters comprising Justices P R Ramachandra Menon and N Anilkumar took cognizance on the basis of the report filed by Special Commissioner M. Manoj, District Judge.

The Special Commissioner's report stated that several persons had assembled at Sabarimala on November 5 to prevent entry of women. A woman devotee, who was aged above 50 years, was subjected to harassment and intimidation when she attempted to visit temple. She could visit temple only with police assistance. The Report also stated that persons happened to ascend the holy 18 steps without the customary "irumudi kettu" in the midst of commotion, leading to breach of temple customs. "Irumudi Ketti" is a travel pouch containing pooja articles and a person can ascend the holy steps only by carrying it on head.

The Report stated that anti-social elements were trying to exploit the situation to disrupt social order. The security situation in Sabarimala is highly critical. Incidents of violence had occurred on October 17, when the temple was opened for 'thula maasa pooja".  Recurrence of similar incidents during the 41 days pilgrim season commencing from November 17, during which lakhs of devotees are expected to visit, will result in grave consequences, stated the Special Commissioner.

The Report recommended that political parties and religious outfits should be directed to withdraw from staging protests in Sabarimala. The Report also highlighted the grievances of devotees regarding lack of adequate facilities and police arrangements. Acting on the report, the Bench sought the response of State Government and Devaswom Board. The matter has been adjourned to November 19.

Today the High Court also considered a petition filed by one Abhijit, challenging the police directive that private vehicles coming to Sabarimala should obtain pass from the concerned local police station. Upon the Court orally observing that the direction cannot be regarded as an infringement on freedom of movement and that it was a reasonable measure in the interests of security and order, the petitioner withdrew the petition.