Sabarimala case: \"The Shrine is not out of bounds of constitutional values\":

Kochi (Kerala): Kerala High Court on Saturday heard a batch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the notification issued by the Travancore Devaswom Board inviting applications for the post-Chief Priests in Sabarimala and Malikappuram Temples by holding special sitting.

While hearing, Advocate Professor (Dr) Mohan Gopal, the counsel who appeared for the petitioners, opposed the argument that the Constitution cannot interfere in matters within the shrine.

The counsel contended that "The shrine is not out of bounds of constitutional values. When it is said that the constitution is not allowed in the shrine, the constitution is also subjected to untouchability like them. Any institution including temples in India is governed by the Constitution. This has been upheld by the High Court and the Supreme Court. The Devaswom Board is a statutory body. It cannot be argued that it is a special category within religion under Article 26 (b). It cannot be said that only a particular caste will be appointed even if they do not pay even a single rupee."

In the meantime, Advocate KB Pradeep, who is the Amicus Curie contended that "There is no evidence that anyone other than Malayalam Brahmins has worked as Chief Preist before. To change this is a breach of custom. Not all religious practices need to be examined for constitutional validity. The court cannot interfere in this. This is not a matter that can be decided under Article 226 of the Constitution, which is limited to interfere in such matters."

The above writ petition was filed by Sijith TL and Vijeesh PR who are qualified Priests/Archakas as per the notification issued by the Travancore Devaswom Board except the condition that the applicant shall belong to Malayal Brahmin born in Kerala.

The notification issued by the Travancore Devaswom Board is being challenged in the writ petition filed by the petitioners on the ground that it is violative of their fundamental right guaranteed under Articles 14, 15(1) and 16 (2) of the Constitution of India. The writ petition was filed through Adv TR Rajesh.

( Source : ANI )
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