Festival Committee Comprising Muslims Cannot 'Meddle' With Conduct Of Temple Festival: Kerala HC Says Politics Has No Role In Temple Festival
The Kerala High Court has held that the entire activities in connection with Pooram Festival of 2023 in Sree Thirumandhamkunnu Bhagavathy Temple shall be conducted by the temple administration and ‘Pooram-2023 Sangadaka Samithi’ cannot meddle with any such matters.
"Politics has no role to play in the conduct of daily worship and ceremonies and festivals in temples", the Court held.
In its recent interim order, the Bench of Justice Anil K. Narendran and Justice P.G. Ajithkumar observed that a temple festival has to be conducted in accordance with the custom, rituals and practices of a temple and that Politics has no role to play in the conduct of daily worship and ceremonies and festivals in temples.
The Court was dealing with a plea challenging inclusion of members of the Muslim community in the committee for conducting Pooram Festival of 2023 in Sree Thirumandhamkunnu Bhagavathy Temple.
Advocates R. Krishna Raj and C. Rajendran appeared for the petitioners whereas Senior Government Pleader S. Rajmohan appeared for the Respondents.
The Court while relying upon the decision of a Division Bench in the Payyannur Sree Subrahmanya Swami Kshethrodharana Samithi case, observed that “…the scheme of the Madras Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Act and the Rules framed thereunder not only insulates the authority of the hereditary trustee or the trustees to preserve and have matters of religion in a temple in terms of such customs, practices and usages, it gives no room for any authority to interfere with that”
The Court also noted that “The administration of the temple is clearly with the hereditary trustee or the trustees, as the case may be, except in cases of institutions which fall under Section 8B of the Act and of course those temples in relation to which the non-hereditary trustees or fit persons have been appointed”
The Court has held that the question as to whether the expenditure to be incurred by Sree Thirumandhamkunnu Bhagavathy Devaswom for conducting a ‘cultural meeting’ and that to be incurred in connection with ‘Mandandri Puraskara Samarpanam’ falls outside the scope of matters enumerated in clauses (a) to (d) of sub-section (2) of Section 70 of the Madras Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Act will be decided in this writ petition.
"Any expenditure incurred by the Devaswom in that regard, which is beyond the scope of matters enumerated in clauses (a) to (d) of sub-section (2) of Section 70 of the Act shall attract the provisions under sub-section (8) of Section 74.", the Court said.
Cause Title- Hindu Seva Kendram v. State of Kerala & Ors.