The Kerala High Court directs the Travancore Devaswom Board to maximize vehicle parking, deploy volunteers and provide drinking water to pilgrims.

Case Title: Suo Motu v. State of Kerala & Ors.

Case No: SSCR No. 41 of 2023

Decided on: 3rd January, 2024


Facts of the Case

The Special Commissioner, Sabarimala submitted a report regarding certain aspects concerning crowd management with reference to the deficiency in the Fastag parking fees collection point and vehicle parking at Nilakkal and deployment of personnel at parking grounds to arrange parking of vehicles. The Hon’ble High Court of Kerala has suo motu initiated the proceedings.

The High Court of Kerala passed a detailed order dated 25.12.2023 on crowd management at Sabarimala and at various places like Ponkunnam, Mundakayam, Pala, Kanjirappalli, Thirunakkara, Ettumanoor and Vaikom.

The learned Senior Government Pleader and the learned Standing Counsel for Travancore Devaswom Board seek time to get instructions on crowd management and pilgrim facilities at Makarajyothi view points.

The learned Standing Counsel for Travancore Devaswom Board submits that the second track of FASTag scanning/parking fee collection provided at Nilakkal has become operational on 28.12.2023. It also submits that the total capacity of the parking grounds at Nilakkal is around 8,000 vehicles. The parking fee is being collected through FASTag. There was underutilization of parking facilities at Nilakkal during the Mandala-Makaravilakku festival season.


The primary issue involves deficiencies and management challenges in crowd control, parking facilities, and pilgrim amenities during the festival season at Nilakkal and various related locations, as highlighted in the Special Commissioner’s report and addressed by the High Court’s order.

Court’s Analysis and Decision

The Hon’ble High Court of Kerala directs the Travancore Devaswom Board and the District Police Chief, Pathanamthitta to ensure that a maximum number of vehicles are parked at the Devaswom parking grounds at Nilakkal. It also directs the Travancore Devaswom Board to take immediate steps to deploy sufficient number of volunteers at U-turn and S-valavu, especially during night hours, and provide drinking water and light refreshments to the pilgrims stranded at those locations. The additional 17th respondent Superintending Engineer, Kerala Water Authority, Public Health Circle, Pathanamthitta is directed to make provisions for adequate supply of drinking water at U-turn and S-valavu, in consultation with the Travancore Devaswom Board.

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Written by- Afshan Ahmad

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