KOCHI: What power does the state government or police have to impose a virtual queue system for devotees' pilgrimage to Lord Ayappa temple at Sabarimala, was among the queries raised by the Kerala High Court on Thursday.
It also asked whether such a mechanism has been put in place on court orders.
A bench of justices Anil K Narendran and PG Ajithkumar was also of the view that the Travancore Devaswom Board, as the temple trustee, should be the one to bring about any such regulation.
It asked the government and the police whether the system was put in place on the orders of the bench, which deals with Devaswom Board matters, and sought their response to the queries by October 26.
The court was hearing a PIL initiated by it.
The PIL is based on a detailed order of July 1 of the high court for considering the question -- whether the virtual queue system for Sabarimala pilgrimage be entrusted to the Travancore Devaswom Board as has been done by other Devaswoms.
On Thursday, the court asked the state government what role it had to play in temple matters and whether the board's permission was sought before putting in place the Sabarimala Pilgrimage Management System.
The state government told the bench that it took the decision in good faith to ensure devotees' pilgrimage was smoother.
It also claimed that the virtual queue system was in place since 2011, but it was put into operation in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The government contended that it has not received any complaints with regard to the system so far as around 80 lakh devotees have made use of this mechanism for 'darshan' at the temple.
The police, during the hearing, opposed the special commissioner's report that only the board, as a temple trustee, has the power to impose a virtual queue.