Pilgrims entering the revered Sabarimala Sannidhanam will be denied entry if they carry posters and large photographs of film stars, celebrities and politicians, the Kerala High Court ruled on Monday. The court, which was hearing a suo motu case based on a complaint by a pilgrim on the issue, directed the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) to take steps to ensure that devotees of Lord Ayyappa are allowed to exercise their right to worship at the Sabarimala in an “accustomed manner” that is in line with the practice and tradition at the temple.
“No pilgrim can be permitted entry to Sabarimala Sannidhanam, through Pathinettampadi or to have darshan in front of the Sopanam of Sabarimala Sannidhanam, carrying posters and huge photographs of celebrities, politicians, etc.,” a division bench of Justices Anil K Narendran and PG Ajithkumar observed, according to Live Law.
“According to Oxford Dictionary ‘worshipper’ is a person who shows reverence and adoration for deity. Right to worship is a civil right, of course in an accustomed manner and subject to the practice and tradition in each temple,” the court observed, according to Live Law.
The court was relying on an earlier order in Sajeev Sastharam v. State of Kerala and others had held that a ‘worshipper’ is duty-bound to exercise his right to worship in an accustomed manner and subject to the practice and tradition in Sabarimala.
During the hearing, the bench also took cognizance of a media report on a performance by drummer Sivamani in front of the Sopanam of Sabarimala Sannidhanam and barred all pilgrims from playing drums or other similar instruments at the temple.