A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court has questioned the state government regarding its powers to impose a virtual queue system for devotees' pilgrimage to Sabarimala Temple. The Court wondered if it should be entrusted to the Travancore Devaswom Board, as has been done by other Devaswoms, instead of being managed by the Kerala Police.

The Kerala Government had introduced the Sabarimala Pilgrimage Management System (SPMS) in wake of the Corona pandemic as a measure of crowd control.

The Bench consisting of Justice Anil K Narendran and Justice PG Ajithkumar asked the Counsel for the state whether the system was put in place on the orders of the bench which deals with Devaswom Board matters and sought a response to the queries by October 26.

The Bench was hearing a PIL initiated by it, suo moto, pursuant to on a detailed order of July 1 for considering the question whether the virtual queue system for Sabarimala pilgrimage should be entrusted to the Travancore Devaswom Board, as has been done by other Devaswoms.

On Thursday, the Court asked the state government about its role in temple affairs and whether the Board's permission was sought before putting in place the Sabarimala Pilgrimage Management System.

The State Government told the Bench that it took the decision in good faith to ensure devotees' pilgrimage was smoother. It also claimed that the virtual queue system was in place since 2011, but it was put into operation only on account of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The government contended that it has not received any complaints with regard to the system so far, as around 80 lakh devotees have made use of this mechanism for 'Darshan' at the temple. The Kerala Police, during the hearing, opposed the special commissioner's report that only the Board, as a temple trustee, has the power to impose a virtual queue.

With PTI Inputs