“The police cannot be present in the Nadappandal, which is a resting place for devotees; the place of police is in the barracks,” the bench observed.

After detention of devotees Kerala HC reprimands police excesses at Sabarimala
news Sabarimala Monday, November 19, 2018 - 14:41

Hours after the Kerala police detained several protesters at Sabarimala temple, the Kerala High Court in an oral observation on Monday stated that police excess cannot be permitted under the pretext of implementing the Supreme Court verdict which allowed the entry of women of all ages into the temple.

Hearing a petition over the arrangements made at Sabarimala, a special bench for the consideration of Devaswom matters asked the State Attorney under what authority the Kerala police can stop the devotees from exercising their right to worship at the temple.

According to a report by Live Law, Justice PR Ramachandra Menon, who heads the bench, observed, “the police cannot be present in the Nadappandal, which is a resting place for devotees; the place of police is in the barracks.”

The bench has also criticised the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) for their “failure in conducting regular services to Pampa.” The bench observed that if the situation continues, then the court will issue directions to permit the use of private vehicles till Pampa, which has been prohibited by the Kerala police from the time of the Sree Chitra Atta Thirunal Pooja, from October 5. The lack of facilities in Nilakkal, Pamba and the Sannidhanam was also observed by the bench.

The HC’s observation comes after around 100 people were taken to custody by the police on Sunday night for defying prohibitory orders at the temple. Those arrested have been taken to a police camp at Manniyar, 30 kms from Nilakkal.

The development which occurred post 10:30 pm on Sunday saw scores of devotees and members of right-wing groups attempting to occupy the Nadapandal (the enclosure leading to the 18 steps) – which is off limits for devotees post 10 pm. The protesting devotees reportedly threatened to stay at the Nadapandal through the night.

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