Sabarimala pilgrims: Kerala moves SC against HC orders

Kerala govt moves SC against HC's orders to increase daily number of pilgrims in Sabarimala Temple

The Kerala HC said that it would put police personnel and officials of the health department in great strain and difficulty.

Devotees maintain social distance while standing in queues to offer prayers at Lord Ayyappa temple on the 1st day of Malayalam month of 'Vrischikom, at Sabarimala in Pathanamthitta, Monday, Nov. 16, 2020. Credit: PTI Photo

The Kerala government has approached the Supreme Court against the Kerala High Court's direction which increased the daily number of pilgrims to Sabarimala temple from 2,000 to 5,000.

The state government said that it would put police personnel and officials of the health department in great strain and difficulty.

State Chief Secretary questioned the validity of the High Court's judgement on December 18, 2020, which disposed of a batch of writ petitions and directed the state government to increase the number of pilgrims to the Sabarimala temple, during the festival season starting from December 20, 2020, and is scheduled to end on January 14, 2021.

The state government sought an immediate stay on the HC's on grounds of the health risks, administrative difficulties and the new coronavirus strain, detected in the United Kingdom.

The state government said while increasing the number of pilgrims to 5,000 per day, the High Court failed to consider the revised health advisory of December 14, limiting the number of pilgrims per day to 2000.

It also pointed out that the present situation of the Pathanamthitta district, where the temple is situated, was again considered and a report on the Covid -19 Situation has been filed on December 18.

"As per this report, the situation in the Pathanamthitta district is grave and therefore it recommended measures to control the Covid-19 pandemic. It is also reported in the media that a new Covid-19 virus with a new strain has been detected in England and considering that the Government of India stopped all flights to and fro from England and India," it said.