The Kerala High Court has directed the Special Commissioner, Sabarimala to conduct an inspection of the donor buildings and submit a preliminary report by September 20, 2023.

The Court was dealing with a DBP registered based on the report of the Ombudsman in a petition filed by the Travancore Devaswom Board seeking approval for the renovation of donor buildings situated at Sabarimala through sponsors, construction of ornamental gate at Pamba and revenue generating schemes.

A Division Bench comprising Justice Anil K. Narendran and Justice Sophy Thomas ordered, “Having perused the report of the learned Ombudsman, we deem it appropriate to direct the Special Commissioner, Sabarimala, to conduct an inspection of the donor buildings and submit a preliminary report before this Court, along with a few photographs, by 20.09.2023.”

Standing Counsel represented the petitioner i.e., Travancore Devaswom Board while Senior Government Pleader S. Rajmohan represented the respondents.

Insofar as the work relating to “Smart Roof for the Holy Steps at Sabarimala Sannidhanam” was concerned, the opinion of the Tanthri was placed on record along with the memo filed by the Standing Counsel.

Travancore-Cochin Hindu Religious Institutions Act, 1950 enacted by the State Legislature makes provision for the administration, supervision, and control of incorporated and unincorporated Devaswoms and of other Hindu Religious Endowments and Funds. As per the provisions under Section 3 of the Act, the administration of incorporated and unincorporated Devaswoms shall vest in the Travancore Devaswom Board.

The High Court in the above regard said, “As per Section 15A of the Act, it shall be the duty of the Board to perform the following functions, namely, (i) to see that the regular traditional rites and ceremonies according to the practice prevalent in the religious institutions are performed promptly; (ii) to monitor whether the administrative officials and employees and also the employees connected with religious rites are functioning properly; (iii) to ensure proper maintenance and upliftment of the Hindu religious institutions; (iv) to establish and maintain proper facilities in the temples for the devotees.”

Accordingly, the High Court listed the matter for further consideration on September 20, 2023.

Cause Title- Travancore Devaswom Board v. The Deputy Director, Local Fund Audit, Thiruvananthapuram & Anr.

Click here to read/download the Order