A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on Friday made it clear that the donation of ₹5 crore by the Guruvayur Devaswom managing committee to the Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund (CMDRF) would be subject to the final outcome of cases related to the diversion of funds of the Devaswom for non-religious purposes pending before a Full Bench.
The Bench comprising Justice Shaji P. Chaly and Justice M.R. Anitha referred to the Full Bench a petition filed by R.V. Babu, general secretary of the Hindu Aikya Vedi Kerala, and A. Nagesh, Thrissur district president of the Bharatiya Janata Party, challenging the decision of the Devaswom to contribute ₹5 crore to the CMDRF. According to the petitioners, the funds of the Devaswom could only be utilised for the benefits of the deity and worshippers as per the Guruvayur Devaswom Act. The decision to hand over ₹5 crore to the CMDRF was, therefore, illegal and arbitrary, they held.
According to the petitioner, no property of the Devaswom could be alienated other than for the purposes necessary or beneficial to the Devaswom. The duties of the Devaswom Committee were well defined in the Guruvayur Devaswom Act, which includes the proper performance of rights and ceremonies and doing all things which are incidental and conducive to the efficient management of the affairs of the Devaswom. Therefore, the donation was uncalled for, the petition stated.