The Kerala government on Thursday told a Division Bench of the Kerala High Court that it did not propose to order an inquiry to find whether the Makara Jyothi was manmade or not.
The government pleader made the submission before the Bench of Justice Thottathil B. Radhakrishnan and Justice P.S. Gopinathan when two writ petitions, one against the government's role in the Makara Jyothi and another for continuance of the practice of lighting of lamps at Ponnambalamedu, came before it.
The Bench ordered the court Registry to look into the petitions and list them before the appropriate Bench.
The petitions filed by the general secretary of the Bharatiya Yukthivadi Sanghom, Sreeni Pattathanam, and another person wanted the participation of government departments in the lighting of lamps at Ponnambalamudu declared unconstitutional.
They wanted a directive to the government not to prevent the Sanghom from undertaking an inquiry into what was happening at Ponnambalamedu.
The petitioners said the government was perpetrating a fraud on gullible devotees by participating in the lighting of the Makara Jyothi at Ponnambalamedu.
The government had announced that it would not conduct any inquiry as it was a sensitive issue.
The petitioners pointed out that provisions of the Constitution prohibited the government from spending money on promoting a particular religion.
Though the government collected crores of rupees from the devotees, the money was not being spent for the welfare of the common man.
The action of the government offended the secular credentials of the Constitution, they said.
Meanwhile, a petition filed by the former Melsanthi of the Sabarimala temple, Peringamam Sankarnarayanan Namboodhiri, and another person wanted the Makaravilakku to be declared as a part of a ritual and said it should not be stopped.
The petition pleaded for a directive to the government and the Travancore Devaswom Board to put proper crowd management system in place at Sabarimala.
“To cover up lapses”
It said the recent controversy was kicked up to cover the lapses of the government and the Board in the Pulmedu stampede, which claimed 102 lives.
The Makaravilakku had been there from time immemorial. It was not a fraud committed on devotees. It was really a matter of religious faith, it added.