HC bans toll collection for vehicles to Sabarimala

Guidelines issued to Travancore Devaswom Board on parking fee

The Sabarimala temple in Kerala.

A division Bench comprising Justices Thothathil B Radhakrishnan and C T Ravikumar, which gave the order, clarified that its stay against toll collection would not impair the right of Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB), which manages the temple, to collect parking fee in land belonging to it or under its leasehold right.

The court also said that collection shall be made only from the parking site and not from entry routes. The order was issued while considering a report of the Sabarimala special commissioner on various matters relating to the temple.

The court said the TDB had no authority to collect toll without a notification.
The board informed the court it was not collecting toll, but only levying parking fee from vehicles.

The court on Friday also declined a plea by senior Sabarimala “tantri” (priest) Kandararu Maheswararu to permit his son Kandararu Mohanararu to assist him in performing religious rites at the Sabarimala temple.

A division bench comprising Justices Thothathil B Radhakrishnan and C T Ravikumar said the request was belated and the two-month pilgrim season had already started.

The bench however permitted the “tantri” to get assistance from others, if he so desired. Earlier, the TDB, which manages the Lord Ayyappa shrine, had declined his request on the ground that his plea cannot be allowed without the court’s permission.

The board had earlier sacked Mohanararu after he was found in a Kochi flat in July 2006 with women. He had complained to police that he had been held hostage by a six-member gang at the flat and was forcibly photographed with the women and was being blackmailed. Money and gold ornaments were extorted from him he had alleged.

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