September4 : A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on Friday directed the Travancore Devaswom Board to consider the possibility of keeping open the Sabarimala shrine round the year.
The Bench, comprising Justice Thottathil B. Radhakrishnan and Justice P. Bhavadasan, observed that the court did not find any reason why darshan and pujas could not be allowed throughout the year. The court directed the Board to seek the opinion of the expert authorities in this regard and file a detailed statement before the court within three months. The court also asked the Board to obtain the opinion of experts on widening the sanctum sanctorum door and the 18 holy steps and file a detailed statement.
TDB against widening
In response to a directive, the Board in a statement said the suggestion of the court that the door of the sanctum sanctorum and the 18 holy steps be widened would “tend to offend” the faith, Vasthu principles and things relating to temple architecture. The Board which gave the opinions of the Devaswom Commissioner, Chief Engineer and Executive Officer said the width of the door and holy steps could not be widened.
The reports of the chief engineer and other officials said that even if the width of the door and holy steps was increased, it would not solve the problems faced by the pilgrims as the Thirumuttam had come to hold more people than it could contain. The area of the Thirumuttam could be increased only by removing different structures standing on one side, including the Devaswom offices, which, in fact, fell under the master plan.
The court said it was inclined to think that the suggestions in the reports were based on the officers’ personal views rather than on reliable principles. The court said the appropriate and competent authority could only make recommendations on matters relating to the faith and rituals.