Kerala High Court
Kerala High Court

Ex-TDB chief opposes appointment of non-Hindus as Devaswom Commissioner

ANI | Updated: Oct 16, 2018 01:50 IST

Kochi (Kerala) [India], Oct 16 (ANI): Former Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) president Prayar Gopalakrishnan has approached the Kerala High Court with a writ petition challenging the state government's move to appoint Non-Hindus as Devaswam Commissioners.
In a petition filed before the court, Gopalakrishnan mentioned "Section 29 of Travancore- Cochin Hindu Religious Institutions Act was amended with an ill motive to appoint non-Hindu officers in Board. By the amendment the "who shall be appointed by the board, he shall be a Hindu" has been omitted and as per the new amendment a non-Hindu can be the Devaswom Commissioner."
The petition further read, "Devaswom Commissioner shall be appointed by the Board is omitted and he can/may be a non-Hindu. This amendment is an encroachment to the religious rights of the Hindus as a whole."
The petitioner also stated that as per Section 29 of the Act, Devaswom Commissioner is the Chief Executive Officer of the Department of Devaswom and Hindu Religious Endowments.
He further explained in the petition, "So by the new amendment a non-Hindu can be a Devaswom Commissioner and power of appointment of Devaswom Commissioner by the Board was taken away. The Ext. P1 amendment to sec. 29 of the act is violative of Article 25 and 26 of the Constitution of India. By giving a right to appoint a Non-Hindu, freedom to manage religious affairs. Article 25 of the Constitution of India enshrines the propagation of religion."
"If a non-Hindu is appointed as Devaswom Commissioner the right to propagate the religion is lost. Article 26 of the constitution India protects the management of religious affairs. If a non-Hindu is appointed in the Devaswom Board freedom of managing the religious rights are lost."
The TDB is an autonomous body formed as per the Travancore Cochin Hindu Religious Institutions Act of 1950 and manages all the Hindu temples in Kerala.
After corruption allegations surfaced in 2007, the Board had suggested a direct appointment to the post of the Commissioner.
Reportedly, after the pressure of the trade union, the Left Government had issued a notification for deploying the deputy commissioner to the post of Commissioner while abolishing the direct appointment of a Devaswom Commissioner in July this year. (ANI)

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