HC proposes extending time of Sabarimala for crowd control

The Bench of Justices Anil K Narendran and PG Ajithkumar also dircted the Pathanamthitta district collector and the police to control the crowd at the Sabarimala shrine.
Representative image
Representative image

KOCHI: Kerala High Court on Sunday proposed an extension of the time of worship for devotees at the Sabarimala temple by an hour on busy days. The Devaswom Bench of the high court mooted the proposal after convening a special sitting on Sunday.

The court had asked the Board to consider extending the time of worship after taking suo motu cognisance of a recent rush of devotees at the Sabarimala temple, which left quite a few of them injured. The Bench of Justices Anil K Narendran and PG Ajithkumar also dircted the Pathanamthitta district collector and the police to control the crowd at the Sabarimala shrine.

The lawyer for the Devaswom board submitted in court that a decision on extending the time of worhsip can only be made after holding consultations with the temple's chief priest, owing to certain ritualistic considerations. The Devaswom Board said bookings are increasing despite attempts made to control the congestion at the temple through virtual queues.

The police and the Devaswom Board made it clear that there is an urgent need for crowd control, including the capping of the number of bookings per day to 85,000. However, the court held that anyone who treks to the Sabarimala temple should not return without a darshan (visit).

It proposed that the authorities concerned make all necessary arrangements to ensure the same. With reports of all available parking spaces filling up, the court also put forward the proposal of imposing restrictions on the number of vehicles and full-time police patrol.

The court said it will consider the matter again on Monday.

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