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Kerala High Court okays ban orders at Sabarimala

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Kochi: Kerala High Court on Thursday observed that section 144 of IPC imposed on Sabarimala was not found to be causing difficulties to devotees and that there was no basis for prejudices arising otherwise.

A Division Bench made the observation favouring the stand of the state government in this regard while considering a batch of petitions challenging the prohibitory orders imposed on the hill shrine areas under section 144.  The court considered the report of the three-member panel appointed by the court to ensure smooth pilgrimage to the shrine. The panel report said that the prohibitory orders did not cause any inconvenience to the pilgrims.

The state government informed the court that there were sufficient reasons, including law and order problems, to impose the prohibitory orders. To ensure law and order it has to be extended further, it said.

The panel comprising two retired High Court judges and one ADGP told the court that on Tuesday alone 80,000 pligrims offered worship at the shrine.

The government said that during the mandala season till December 4 morning, a total of 6,92,641 pilgrims had worshipped at the shrine. Most of them had come in groups. The prohibitory orders in no way had come in the way of rituals and other religious practices.

The affidavit submitted by Pathanamthitta ADM P.T. Abraham says that only reasonable restriction was being imposed on Sabarimala to ensure protection for temples and devotees, public order and public safety. This was imposed in the light of the violent incidents during Thulam month pooja and Chithira Atta Visesha Tirunal.