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Leftist ministers can pick temple board members: SC
April 21, 2005 17:16 IST
The Supreme Court has ruled that the state has power to oversee administration of temples.
The apex court dismissed a petition seeking to debar all Hindu ministers of the former leftist government in Kerala from nominating members to the managing committee of Guruvayoor temple.
Upholding a 1999 Kerala High Court order, a Bench comprising Justice H K Sema and Justice S B Sinha said, "to debar all Hindu ministers of leftist government from nominating members to the managing committee of the Guruvayoor Devaswom will lead to a stalemate in the management of the temple".
Observing that "the management of the temple primarily is a secular act", it said "indisputedly, the state has the requisite jurisidiction to oversee administration of a temple subject to Articles 25 and 26 of the Constitution of India.
Petitioners M P Gopalakrishna Nair, president of Kerala Kshetra Samarakshina, and the general secretary of Kerala unit of Vishwa Hindu Parishad had challenged the Kerala High Court judgement saying as the ministers owe allegiance to the Marxist ideology and were against any religious practice, they should not be nominating members to the managing committee.
Justice Sinha, writing for the Bench, said "a Hindu admittedly may or may not be a person professing Hindu religion or a believer in temple worship. A Hindu has a right to choose his own method of worship... idol worship, rituals and ceremonies may not be practised by a person although he may profess Hindu religion."