The Supreme Court on refused to interfere with the 'Makarajyoti' controversy surrounding the famed Sabarimala Temple in Kerala and asked the petitioner to approach the state high court for remedy.
A three-judge bench headed by the Chief Justice S H Kapadia asked the petitioner to go to the high court as it is already dealing with similar petitions on the issue. Makarajyoti is considered to be a 'celestial phenomenon' by thousands of devotees who throng to witness a purported divine star spotted from Ponnambalamedu near the Sabarimala shrine, culminating in the annual festivities in the second week of January.
The PIL by Sanal Edamaruku of National Science Centre, a constituent unit of the National Council of Science Museums, has alleged that Makarajyoti is "not a celestial event, but a man-made fire to hoodwink the devotees."
Advocate Deepak Prakash, appearing for the petitioner, submitted that the court should pass a direction to restrain the authorities from "defrauding the religious followers and believers by making them believe that the light that appears at Ponnambalamedu was a miracle."
"Makarajyoti is nothing but a fire artificially created by employees of Kerala State Electricity Board and the police in connivance with the Travancore Devaswom Board by lighting camphor in a huge vessel and then covering it by blankets to create a blinking effect," he said, while pleading that immediate steps should be taken to hold awareness programmes to educate the people visiting Sabarimala that the light appearing is not a miracle.
He claimed that according to the Travancore Devaswom Board, which manages the Sabarimala Temple, "a light appears on the hill which is a miracle and the pilgrims turn up in masses to view this unnatural phenomenon."
In a horrific pilgrimage disaster, 102 devotees were killed and 50 injured in a stampede on January 14 at a place about seven km from the famous hill shrine.