State cannot interfere with ancient religious practices in temples: Kerala High Court

The High Court of Kerala, through learned judge, Justice P.G Ajith Kumar and Justice Anil K Narendren  in the case Suo Motu vs State of Kerala and Ors (DBP NO. 5 OF 2022) observed that the State cannot interfere with ancient religious practices in temples.

BRIEF FACTS OF THE CASE: A suo motu writ was filed , based on a news item that appeared in Kerala Kaumudi daily that, as part of ‘Panthrandu Namaskaram’ in Sree Poornathrayeesa Temple at Thripunithura, under the management of Cochin Devaswom Board, the devotees are made to wash the feet of 12 brahmins as atonement for sins. The learned Standing Counsel for Cochin Devaswom Board, submitted that it was the thantri and not the devotees who washed the feet of 12 brahmins. In a meeting convened by the board and Akhila Thanthri Samajam, it was decided to rename the vazhipadu as ‘Samaradhana’.

JUDGEMENT: In  Sarika v. Shri Mahakaleshwar Mandir Committee (2018) 17 SCC 112]  the Apex Court noticed that there is a constitutional obligation to preserve the religious practices of all religions, culture and there is also a corresponding duty to act in that direction. The Apex Court held that it is for the experts in the field of religion to decide about the rituals and ceremonies to be performed. In light of this decision, the court observed that it is not for the Court to make suggestions in this regard. It is not within the jurisdiction of the Court to dictate or prescribe or restrain the religious practices and pujas to be performed in the temple and thereby dismissed the petition 


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