Kerala Government suffers heavy blow as High Court appoints three observers for Sabarimala
Kerala High Court came down heavily on GOK for the police actions in Sabarimala. The heavy blow was in response to the petitions filed against police atrocities.
The Court said, CrPC 144 prevails in Sabarimala. Even though the court said that there should not be protests in valiayanatappandal, police should behave properly in Sabarimala. Women and children can spread their mat in natappandal and rest there. Police should not stop the devotees from chanting Swami Sharanam. They should be provided with all basic facilities. Food and water should be available round-the-clock.
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. Advocate General (AG) told the court that the government would give protection to the women who like to visit the temple.
The Court said, GOK's affidavit says that Sharanajapam is not the violation of 144. But, still the police stop the devotees from chanting it. The court observed: "Are they not chanting Swmiye Sharanamayyappa''' and not "Swamiye, please bring young women to the temple"? If so, it is of course against the Supreme Court verdict.
Even a sitting judge of the high court got raw and rude treatment at the hands of a police officer. The Court decided to go ahead with suo motu case, but, the police apologised "with tears" hence the court decided to pardon him. Police should not be given a blank cheque. Judge's magnanimity should not be taken as weakness.
The Court wondered why the notices issued by the police are not included in the affidavit. Court wondered if police went up to the "holy 18 steps" wearing boots. The court observed, no sufficient toilets for the devotees. Does government have any magic wand in its hand? AG does not know most of the GOK orders. Does not AGP have to know when DGP and the minister issue orders? Why is AG kept in the dark? Will devotees not go panic when no food and water available?
Court expressed its dissatisfaction in restrictions imposed in Sabarimala. The affidavit does not say anything about closing down of annadaana counter. Where do devotees go for food? Did police not inform AG about it? This is a blatant lapse on the part of the police.
AG says, these orders were withdrawn the same day. Even though the court was assured that KSRTC, state-transport dept, would operate the services round-the-clock, it does not happen. Why did police impose restrictions on KSRTC service during the initial days? The Court assigned a three-member team of observers for Shabarimala comprising of Justice Sirijagan, Justice PR Raman and ADG of Police Hemachandran IPS.