Court stays appointment of temple priests in Sabarimala

October 16th, 2008 - 7:59 pm ICT by IANS  

Kochi, Oct 16 (IANS) The Kerala High Court Thursday stayed the selection of priests to the Sabarimala and Malaikapuram temples after one of the observers of the selection panel complained that a few candidates in the list were not qualified.Priests to the Sabarimala and Malaikapuram temples, situated on a hillock in Pathanamthitta district, have traditionally been chosen through draw of lots after an initial screening.

A division bench of the court passed the order after a report, by one of the observers of the selection panel Justice K. Padmanabhan Nair, said there were few candidates in the lot who did not have adequate knowledge of tantric rites.

There was also a complaint from the temple ‘tantri’ (head priest) Kandararu Maheshwaru that the list included some with dubious pasts.

The court said the draw can take place as scheduled on Friday but no formal appointments should be made till the Devasom Vigilance conducts a detailed probe into the complaints.

The Sabarimala temple over the years has unofficially been declared as the Mecca for the Hindus, mainly Malayalees. During the two-month season, between November and January, millions of devotees arrive at the hill-top temple, which can be reached only on foot.

In the last season, an estimated four million devotees visited the temple.

Over the years, and especially after the Left government took over in May 2006, the running of the temple has been mired in controversy because of the frequent conflicts between the three-member Travancore Devasom Board.

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