KOCHI: The state government on Tuesday told the High Court only a Hindu will be appointed to the commissioner posts of the Travancore and Cochin Devaswom Boards.
Recording the submission, a Division Bench comprising Justice P R Ramachandra Menon and Justice Devan Ramachandran asked the government to file an affidavit in this regard.
BJP state president P S Sreedharan Pillai had filed a petition in the court challenging the amendments to the Travancore-Cochin Hindu Religious Institutions Act, 1950, which “enabled the appointment of a non-Hindu as Devaswom Commissioner.”
However, Advocate General C P Sudhakara Prasad told the court the government had no intention to appoint a non-Hindu as Devaswom Commissioner.
“Even by a the amended provision, no person other than a Hindu can be appointed as the Commissioner. Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran had also issued a clarification on the matter, saying the campaign the government amended the Act to enable the appointment of a non-Hindu as Devaswom Commissioner was baseless and intended to stoke communal hatred,” Prasad said
Pillai in his petition submitted the amendments enabled a person, who was not a Hindu, to be appointed as the Devaswom Commissioner.
“In terms of the amendment, the stipulation in Section 29 (2) of the Act which says the Devaswom Commissioner shall be a Hindu stands omitted. The newly-inserted Section 13 in the case of the Travancore Devaswom Board and Section 74A in the case of the Cochin Devaswom Board provide an additional secretary to the government can be appointed as the Devaswom Commissioner, without prescribing the qualification that the person ought to be a Hindu,” Pillai's petition said.