Ensure transparency in selection of Devaswom members: Kerala High Court

The Kerala High Court on Monday directed the state government to consider framing appropriate rules and procedures for making the process of nomination and selection of members.

Published: 03rd April 2018 03:34 AM  |   Last Updated: 03rd April 2018 03:34 AM   |  A+A-

Kerala High Court | File photo

By Express News Service

KOCHI: The Kerala High Court on Monday directed the state government to consider framing appropriate rules and procedures for making the process of nomination and selection of members to the Travancore and Cochin Devaswom Boards open and transparent.The time has come for executive and the legislature to act to ensure transparency and openness in the nomination of board members, the court observed.

It also recommended to the state to frame rules which allowed the citizens to offer themselves as candidates or to suggest eminent persons of their choice who may be supported by a fixed member of nomination to be considered for being nominated or elected to the boards.

A Division Bench comprising Justice P R Ramachandra Menon and Justice Devan Ramachandran passed the order on the petition challenging the provisions of the Travancore Cochin Religious Institutions Act, 1950, which allows the nomination of two members each to the Travancore and Cochin Devaswom Boards by a Cabinet sub-committee of Hindu ministers and election of one member each to the two boards by Hindu MLAs.

The Bench observed despite the court’s initiative for a more democratic and transparent system in the nomination and election of members to the boards, hardly any step was taken by the executive or the legislature to put in place a system to ensure transparency in the process.

The court recorded the submission by the petitioner’s counsel that the Act was completely silent as to the manner in which candidate was identified by the ministers for being nominated to the board. It was doubtless the candidates put up for nomination or election were exclusively within the choice of the legislator and ministers and the private citizen who aspired or desired to serve at the feet of lord will not get any chance for being considered as a candidate.

State moves HC for nod on remission to prisoners
Kochi: The state government on Monday approached the Kerala High Court seeking permission to grant special remission to 739 prisoners as approved by the Governor. According to the state, the Cabinet had approved a list of 739 eligible prisoners for granting them special remission. Director General of Prisons and Correctional Services had furnished a list of 1,264 prisoners and the Cabinet sub-committee had scrutinised the eligibility of the prisoners and found 739 prisoners were eligible for special remissions. In fact, the period of remission was fixed as 15 days to one year.

HC issues notice on Kathiroor Manoj murder case
Kochi: The Kerala High Court on Monday issued notices to the Centre and state governments on the appeal filed by CPM Kannur district secretary P Jayarajan and other accused in the murder of RSS leader Kathiroor Manoj challenging a single judge’s order upholding the Centre’s notification granting nod to prosecute them under UAP Act. According to the petitioners, the judge went wrong in holding the Centre is the authority to grant sanction. The judge also failed to consider that once the incident has happened within the state territory, which is not excluded under Section 45 (I) (ii), the authority to grant sanction is the state, not the Centre, the plea said.

Notice to Centre, state on groundwater level
Kochi: A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on Monday issued notices to the Centre and state governments on a suo motu proceeding initiated by the court to look into the pressing problem of impending total depletion of water resources. The Single Judge, while dealing with a batch of writ petitions seeking protection from obstruction caused to the digging of bore well and tube wells, took note of various reports which project an alarming situation with respect to the depletion of groundwater resources. The court had observed both the Centre and state governments have to seriously look at the problem with a vision for preserving water for the future generations and that there should be a comprehensive plan for tapping of resources. According to the court, the successive governments have failed to address the issue with due seriousness.

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