Kerala High Court restricts mass drills, weapons training in temple premises

The Kerala High Court has taken a significant step to preserve the sanctity of temple premises by directing the Devaswom Commissioner and Administrative Officer to prevent any activities related to mass drills and weapons training within the Sree Sarakara Devi Temple in Thiruvananthapuram. The court’s decision came in response to a petition that challenged the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) conducting training sessions at the temple.

Earlier in May, the Travancore Devaswom Board had issued a circular to all temples under its jurisdiction, explicitly prohibiting the RSS from organising mass drills and other activities within temple premises.

The Division Bench of Justices Anil K Narendran and PG Ajithkumar unequivocally ruled that any activities unrelated to temple worship were deemed illegal. They stressed the fundamental right to faith and emphasised the importance of maintaining a peaceful environment within the temple.

The court further mandated that administrative officers and temple management committees should prevent any actions that may cause difficulties for believers. In particular, mass drills and weapons training were strictly prohibited within temple premises, and the temple’s administrative officer was tasked with ensuring that this order was rigorously enforced.

The High Court’s directive also extended to law enforcement agencies, urging the police to provide any necessary assistance to uphold this decision. The court firmly stated that politics had no place in temple rituals and faith, underlining the importance of safeguarding temple property from unauthorised access.

The petitioners who approached the High Court cited the distress and inconvenience faced by pilgrims, particularly women and children, due to the actions of people conducting drills and training sessions at the temple. Despite clear circulars from the Travancore Devaswom Board and the temple’s administrative officer, these activities persisted from 5 pm to 12 am daily.

Edited By:

Vadapalli Nithin Kumar

Published On:

Sep 12, 2023


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