Govt, Devaswom board can’t change temple ritual name: Kerala HC

The court observed that it is the devaswom board’s duty to see that traditional rituals, according to the practice prevalent in the temple, are performed promptly. 

Published: 31st March 2022 06:59 AM  |   Last Updated: 31st March 2022 06:59 AM   |  A+A-

Kerala High Court (Photo| A Sanesh/EPS)

Kerala High Court (Photo| A Sanesh/EPS)

By Express News Service

KOCHI: The Kerala High Court on Wednesday held that the Cochin Devaswom Board’s decision to change the name of the ritual ‘kalkazhikichoottu’ at the Sree Poornathrayeesa Temple in Tripunithura as ‘samaradhana’ is legally unsustainable. The court observed that it is the devaswom board’s duty to see that traditional rituals, according to the practice prevalent in the temple, are performed promptly. 

“No interference with the religious rite, namely panthrandu namaskaram, was legally permissible either by the Cochin Devaswom Board or by the state government,” the court said. The board had submitted that a meeting was convened to rename the ‘vazhipadu’ (offering) as ‘samaradhana’. The devotees are not made to wash the feet of Brahmins in connection with ‘panthrandu namaskaram’, rather it is the thantri who washes the feet of 12 priests in connection with the ritual, the board pointed out. 

The court said religious practices are required to be performed in accordance with the ancient norms, and neither the devaswom Board nor the state can interfere with such practices. A Division Bench comprising Justice Anil K Narendran and Justice P G Ajithkumar issued the order while disposing of a case registered suo motu on the basis of a media report pertaining to the ritual.

The court also flayed a section of the media for incorrect reporting on the ritual. “It is the duty and responsibility of the media, be it electronic or print, to ensure that they are not providing the public with information that is factually wrong based on unverified information,” the HC said.

Some news reports alleged that devotees at the Sree Poornathrayeesa Temple were made to wash the feet of 12 Brahmins as part of ‘panthrandu namaskaram’. The Cochin Devaswom Board had submitted that the media reports were wrong.



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