HC appoints observer for Sabarimala 'Melsanthi' selection

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Kochi, Oct 3 (UNI) The Kerala High Court today appointed retired judge K Padmanabhan Nair as an observer for the selection of the 'Melsanthis'(chief priests) of the Sabarimala and Malikappuram temples.

A Division Bench comprising Justices P R Raman and T R Ramachandran Nair also directed Justice Padmanabhan Nair to file a report before it about the selection process.

The court also raised the strength of the selection committee from five to eight. Earlier, the selction committee was consisting of members from the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) and two 'Tantris' of the Thazhaman Illam.

The bench directed to include two experts -- one from ten renowned 'Tantris' suggested by the High Court and one from the 'Melsanthis' of the previous five years of the two temples.

The court, however, gave the right to nominate those persons to the senior 'Tantri' of the Thazhaman Illam.

The court also directed to include the Devaswom Commissioner in the selction committee.

The bench observed that the selection of 'Melsanthis' shall be conducted as per the schedule already decided. It also clarified that the re-constitution of the selection committee was for this year only and the TDB would have to make comprehensive guidelines to be formulated in accordance with the recommendations of the Justice Paripoornan Commission.

The court issued this order while considering a report filed by Devaswom Ombudsman Justice R Bhaskaran, seeking a direction to make the selection for the post of 'Melsanthis' as per the Justice Paripoornan Commission recommendations.

Meanwhile, the Kerala Government and the TDB have informed the bench that they are ready to set up a high-powered committee for the smooth conduct of the Sabarimala 'mandala' season this year.

The government informed that the committee will be constituted under Additional Chief Secretary K Jayakumar. It will also have Director-General of Police, ADGP (South Zone) V R Rajeevan and various department heads as its members.

It will have the powers to make regulations and take action in all matters related to the Sabarimala festival this year.

The bench, however, directed them to file draft guidelines about the functions and powers of the committee.


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