VER­DICT

DNA (Delhi) - - INDIA -

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Fri­day de­clined ur­gent hear­ing on a fresh plea of the Ker­ala gov­ern­ment chal­leng­ing the Ker­ala High Court de­ci­sion to set up a panel to over­see pil­grim­age at Sabari­mala, which has wit­nessed protests af­ter women of all age groups were al­lowed en­try into the tem­ple.

The Ker­ala High Court, on Novem­ber 28, or­dered set­ting up of a three mem­ber com­mit­tee, com­pris­ing re­tired judges PR Raman, S Sir­i­ja­gan and se­nior IPS of­fi­cer A Hemachan­dran, and gave them the power to over­see law and or­der and other prob­lems faced by pil­grims.

A bench com­pris­ing Chief Jus­tice Ran­jan Go­goi and Jus­tice

SK Kaul re­fused to ac­cord ur­gent hear­ing on the plea of the state gov­ern­ment and said that it would come up for hear­ing in due reg­u­lar course.

“Or­der of con­sti­tut­ing a team of ob­servers, par­tic­u­larly when there is al­ready a Spe­cial Com­mis­sioner (who is a Dis­trict Judge), a Devas­wom om­buds­man ex­er­cis­ing pow­ers, in­ter alia, over Sabari­mala

Tem­ple, and a High Power Com­mit­tee is un­sus­tain­able in law and such con­sti­tu­tion of Team of Ob­servers is ar­bi­trary, il­le­gal and vi­ola­tive of the ba­sic con­sti­tu­tional struc­ture of sep­a­ra­tion of pow­ers,” the state gov­ern­ment said in its plea. The gov­ern­ment has as­sailed the HC or­der and sub­mit­ted that the po­lice has “ef­fec­tively stream­lined the

pro­tes­tors and has worked out a se­cu­rity sys­tem for the Tem­ple, par­tic­u­larly on the ba­sis of in­tel­li­gence in­puts” and that the High Court-ap­pointed panel would take over the pow­ers of the duly au­tho­rised se­cu­rity agency.

Ear­lier, the state gov­ern­ment had moved the top court seek­ing trans­fer of pend­ing pleas re­lat­ing to the Sabari­mala Tem­ple from the High Court to the apex court.

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