New procedure to elect head priests of Sabarimala temple

The committee would interview the applicants, award marks and select the head priests of both Sabarimala and Malikappuram temples, TDB President M Rajagopalan Nair told reporters here.

The new procedure was adopted against the background of discussions initiated by former Supreme Court judge Justice K T Thomas, who was appointed by the apex court as a mediator to resolve the disputes in the matter.

"There have been disputes about the selection process of head priests of Sabarimala for more than a decade. TDB used to select the priests earlier for a long period. However, members of Thazhamon Madom also became the part of the selection committee since 2002,"  Nair said.

The erstwhile Pandalam royal family had approached the court along with the thantri family claiming rights in priests' selection following which the court appointed Justice K T Thomas as a mediator, he said.

All parties including the royal house and thantri family had agreed to the setting up of the new selection committee, he said.

Besides TDB members and the expert thantri from outside, the panel will also two 'thantris' of Thazhamon Madom.

The selection committee will be valid for one year. But the same procedure will be adopted for its composition every year.

The TDB manages the Lord Ayyappa hill shrine.

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