The Supreme Court on Friday sought the response of the Kerala government and two Devaswom boards of the state on two petitions seeking to make them independent of government control, PTI reported.
A bench of Justices UU Lalit and KM Joseph issued notices to the Kerala government and Devaswom boards of Travancore and Cochin seeking their response in six weeks.
Bharatiya Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy and TG Mohan Das challenged the Kerala High Court’s decision refusing to strike down certain sections of the Travancore-Cochin Hindu Religious Institutions Act, 1950, which allows the legislature to take control over the administration of temples, reported Live Law.
Swamy said petitioner TG Mohan Das had earlier submitted before the Kerala High Court that the method of nomination and appointment of the members to the two Devaswom boards were undemocratic and are in derogation of the fundamental religious and administrative rights of the devotees to be part of such a process.
Swamy, in his plea to the High Court, said the process of nomination and elections to the boards were arbitrary. “The two Devaswom Boards administer most of the temples situated in the erstwhile Travancore-Cochin part of the present state of Kerala that includes Kollam, Thiruvananthapuram, Ernakulam, Idukki and Thrissur districts and parts of Kanyakumari district in Tamil Nadu,” he said.
Swamy’s plea said the Kerala High Court erred in rejecting the contention that when a temple is taken over by the state government on alleged mismanagement, it is incumbent on the government to return the management of the temple to its original owners.
He said that the Travancore-Cochin Hindu Religious Institutions Act, 1950, including provisions that allow the government to take over the temple, should have been struck down.