Devaswom nomination norms challenged

The Kerala High Court has admitted a writ petition seeking to declare unconstitutional the provisions of the Travancore Cochin Religious Institutions Act, 1950 which allow nomination of two members each to the Travancore and Cochin Devaswom Boards by a Cabinet subcommittee of Hindu Ministers and election of one member each to the two boards by Hindu MLAs.

The writ petition was filed by T.G. Mohandas, former vice president, Bharatiya Vicharakendram, challenging Sections 4(1) and 63 of the Act. He pointed out that legally and procedurally, Hindu members formed a Cabinet subcommittee or a group of Ministers. In fact, the Chief Minister had been conferred with a right of rejection/modification of any recommendation of the Cabinet subcommittee of the Hindu Ministers.

This procedure, thus, acted as a bar on the exercise of the free will of the Hindu Ministers. Thus, the nomination provision under these Sections were rendered meaningless and arbitrary. Besides, as there were fewer Hindu MLAs or Ministers, a large number of devotees were denied a chance to express their will in the matter of temple administration even in an indirect manner through their MLAs as well.

He pointed out that in its report submitted in 1984, the K. P. Sankaran Nair Commission, which looked into the revamp of the devaswom board administrative set-up, had suggested an elected body for conducting the administration of every temple with an apex body at the State-level with governmental control. However, his recommendations had been gathering dust for the past three decades. The petitioner sought a directive to either implement the commission recommendations or formulate a scheme for administering the temples with assured democratic participation of devotees.

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Printable version | Dec 6, 2020 7:48:39 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/devaswom-nomination-norms-challenged/article7848863.ece

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