The Kerala High Court on Thursday refused to stay the directive of the Transport Commissioner to private bus operators and the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation to permit students to travel on concessional fares during public holidays.

Justice P.N. Ravindran declined to stay the order when a writ petition filed by the All-Kerala Bus Operators Organisation and others against the directive came up for hearing. The organisation said that the Commissioner had no jurisdiction to issue such a directive.

The committee appointed to study the problems of private operators had recommended raising the concessional fares of students. It had not recommended extending the concessions on holidays as well. Therefore, the directive was illegal and arbitrary, the organisation's counsel said.

Circular challenged

A Bench adjourned the hearing on a writ petition questioning a circular issued by the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) which, among other things, refrained temple priests from receiving ‘dakshina' from devotees.

The circular also stipulated that only those devotees who conducted ‘vazhipadu' be given ‘prasadam' on plantain leaf. The petition was filed by V.S. Manikandan Namboodiri of Kottayam.

The ‘dakshina' was an offering by devotees to the Melsanthi, which could not be restricted when devotees gave them voluntarily, the petitioner said.

The service condition of the priests did not say that it was their duty to distribute ‘prasadam' to the devotees. But they did it because they regarded it as part of their custom, he said.

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