KOCHI: A qualified priest on Friday approached the Kerala High Court stating that the appointment of priests in the Sabarimala and Malikappuram temples could not be exclusively reserved for any caste. Vishnu Narayanan CV, 41, submitted that reserving the post of Melsanthis at Sabarimala and Malikappuram temples for the Malayali Brahmin community is unconstitutional.
The notification issued by the Travancore Devaswom Board inviting applications for the posts of Sabarimala and Malikappuram Melsanthis stipulated that the applicants must be from the Malayali Brahmin community. According to the petitioner, the appointment to the posts of Melasanthi was a secular act. Therefore, the posts could not be reserved for one particular community, especially in an institution administered by the government-controlled Travancore Devaswom Board.
The appointment of a priest should be made from among persons well versed, fully qualified, and trained in their duties and mantras, tantras, and necessary Vedas, irrespective of their caste, said the petitioner. It could not be exclusively reserved for any caste be it Malayali Brahmin or otherwise as such an act would directly hit Article 14 of the Constitution. The petitioner had all other qualifications stipulated in the notification except the requirement of being from the Malayali Brahmin community.
The petitioner sought to quash the requirement for persons from the Malayali Brahmin community to apply for the posts. The petitioner also urged the court to declare that all persons of Hindu religion having other qualifications are entitled to be appointed as Melsanthi in the Sabarimala and Malikappuram temples under the Travancore Devaswom Board.