Ker HC | Issue of right over Sabarimala Temple is matter of religious belief and practice; jurisdiction in PIL not warranted

Kerala High Court: A Division Bench comprising of Hrishikesh Roy and A.K. Jayasankaran Nambiar, JJ. was seized of a petition structured as a Public Interest Litigation praying for the following declarations:

  • that the Royal Family of Pandalam does not have any right over the Sabarimala temple;
  • that the Thazhaman Family does not have any Thantric rights over Sabarimala;
  • that the post of Chief Priest in Sabarimala, as well as Malikappuram temples, are open to all qualified persons belonging to Hindu religion; and
  • to issue a writ of mandamus directing the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) to take over ornaments of Lord Ayyappa from the Royal Family of Pandalam.

The Court opined that consideration of the above prayers, as made in the petition, would require determination of many factual aspects which would not be feasible while exercising jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution.

It was further observed that the challenge herein related to religious belief and practice and the petitioner had failed to show, even on a prima facie basis, as to how such religious belief and practice should be a matter of court intervention.

In view of the above, the petition was dismissed but the petitioner was granted liberty to establish a factual foundation for his claim before proper forum. [Dr S. Ganapathy v. State of Kerala, 2018 SCC OnLine Ker 5802, decided on 21-12-2018]

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