The Kerala High Court appointed a three-member team as its observers in Sabarimala during the ongoing Mandala-Makaravilakku festival season in the wake of huge outrage over police restrictions in the temple. The members of the panel are Justice Sirijagan, Justice PR Ramann and ADG of Police Hemachandran.
The court came down heavily on the government for the brutal treatment meted out to devotees. During the hearing of a batch of petitions on the police atrocities in the hill shrine, the court set aside the ‘unilateral’ restrictions imposed by police on the devotees in Sannidhanam. A division bench comprising justices P R Ramachandra Menon and N Anil Kumar said no protests or demonstrations should be held at the Sannidhanam as it was not a place for such activities. The court also removed the restrictions imposed on chanting sarana mantra as well as a ban imposed on halting at the Sannidhanam.
According to the court’s directive, women, children and the physically challenged can halt at the complex.
The court asked the police not harass the devotees when they rest in nadappanthal. It also said chanting sarana mantra doesn’t amount to violation of prohibitory orders. The court also directed the police and administration to provide all facilities to devotees.
The court asked the government to submit the details of the preparations, for the young women’s entry into the temple, in a sealed envelope. The Advocate General (AG) told the court that government would give protection to the women who like to visit the temple.
A sitting judge got a taste of police atrocities when he was stopped and searched. Angry at this, the judge decided to go ahead with a case but the concerned policeman apologized with ‘tears’ in his eyes. The court told the police that the judge’s magnanimity should not be treated as weakness.
The court wondered how policemen went up to the “holy 18 steps” wearing boots. The judges observed that no sufficient toilets were put in place for devotees. Is government having any magic wand in its hand? “AG does not know most of the orders issued by the government. Does not AGP have to know when DGP and the minister issue orders? Why is AG kept in dark,” asked the court.