The Kerala High Court has asked the Petitioner in the Writ Petition filed challenging the use of Halal jaggery for preparation of 'prasad' at the Sabarimala Temple to explain the implication of a food item being certified as 'Halal'.

Earlier, the Travancore Devaswom Board that administers the Sabarimala Temple had filed its statement in reply to the Writ Petition admitting that it procured 'Halal' certified jaggery in the year 2019-2020 for preparation of 'prasad'. (read here)

On Monday, the Petitioner had filed a reply (read here) to the statement of the Board, along with an application seeking a direction to the Board to obtain the opinion of the Thantri (head priest) of the Sabarimala Temple on "the propriety of using Halal Jaggery in preparing Nivedyam for the Lord Ayyappa and the remedial measures required at the Temple". Nivedyam is the prasad that is first served to deity, as per Tantric rituals, and thereafter given to devotees.

On Wednesday, when the matter was taken up for consideration by the Division Bench of Justice Anil K Narendran and Justice PG Ajith Kumar, the Bench queried the Petitioner about the meaning of 'Halal' certification and its implications.

Earlier, the Bench had appointed Advocate N. Raghuraj as the amicus curiae in the matter. The amicus curiae opposed the case of the Petitioner that the use of 'Halal' ingredient in prasad violates religious ritual and customs of the Temple and the religious rights of devotees. He submitted that 'Halal' certification only implies avoidance of certain contents prohibited in Islam.

The amicus curiae also submitted a document to the Court to contend that the products of Patanjali Ayurved, founded by Yoga Guru Baba Ramdev have also been certified as 'Halal'.

As per the website of the Kerala High Court, Advocate N. Raghuraj, the amicus curiae in the matter, is the standing counsel for various state government entities like the Kerala Dental Council, the Travancore-Cochin Medical Councils and the Kerala Nurses and Midwives Council.

The Court observed that since the Petitioner has made allegations about the quality of jaggery procured by the Board, the company from which the 'Halal' jaggery was procured should be impleaded as a Respondent in the Writ Petition. The matter has been adjourned to tomorrow for the Petitioner to file a petition to implead the company from Satara, Maharashtra.

The Bench did not pass any orders on the application of the Petitioner seeking direction to the Board to obtain the opinion of the Thantri on the issue.

The matter will now be considered on Thursday.