In a significant development, the Kerala High Court has taken suo motu cognizance of a complaint/request seeking permission to allow wheelchairs inside the 'Naalambalam' of temples in Kerala.

The purpose of this initiative is to enable physically challenged devotees, especially women, to have proper darshan without facing mobility challenges.

The complaint highlighted the difficulties faced by physically challenged individuals in accessing the sanctum sanctorum of temples, where the deities are often placed at heights that make it challenging for devotees to have a clear view while sitting on the ground. The complainant also emphasized that such restrictions not only hinder the spiritual worship experience but also discourage devotees, impacting their morale.

On March 27, the matter came up for consideration before the Bench of Justice Anil K. Narendran and Justice Harisankar V. Menon.

"The complainant also stated that the father and husband of the complainant had to shoulder her to have darshan. The deities are at such heights, it would be very difficult to view the deity by sitting on the ground. Such restrictions will reduce the tempo of spiritual worship and discourage the morale of devotees. Hence it is requested to help such physically challenged people to reach the Sanctum Sanctorum," the Court noted.

The Court directed the respondents to submit individual affidavits within four weeks, explaining the facts and circumstances surrounding the issue, along with any suggestions from the respective Devaswoms.

Taking note of the submissions made by Senior Government Pleader and the respective Standing Counsel for the Devaswom Boards/Managing Committee, the Bench said, "We deem it appropriate to direct the respondents to place on record individual affidavits explaining the facts and circumstances with the suggestions, if any, by the respective Devaswoms, within a period of four weeks."

Furthermore, the Court appointed Advocate V. Ramkumar Nambiar as Amicus Curiae to assist in the proceedings.

The case has been scheduled for further hearing on May 20.

Cause Title: Suo Moto v. State of Kerala and Ors. [DBP NO. 25 OF 2024]


Respondent: Advocates S.Rajmohan (Sr. Government Pleader), V Ramkumar Nambiar (Amicus Curiae)

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