Kerala HC decision in regards to Sabarimala temple would increase risk of COVID-19: petition filed in Supreme Court

Background

In one of its judgement the Kerala High Court had directed the State government to raise the permissible limit of worshippers at Sabarimala temple from 2,000 to 5,000 per day. The same is being challenged by the state government in the Supreme Court on the following grounds-

  1. The Revised Health Advisory on the Sabarimala Pilgrimage submitted by the Principal Secretary of Health and Family Welfare Department, constituted to consider all aspects and to fix the number of pilgrims who can be permitted per day to visit the temple during December 20 and January 14, revealed that 51 pilgrims and 248 staff were tested positive as on December 14.
  2. Thereafter, the High Level Committee of the government had accepted the Revised Health Advisory taking into account this fact.
  3. However, it has not been reflected in the Kerala High Court Judgement.
  4. Entry to the temple is controlled by virtual queue managed by the police personals and pilgrims are tested for Covid-19 before allowing them to enter the temple. Increase in the number of pilgrims will put the police personal and the officials of the health department in great strain and difficulty in controlling the pilgrims of this magnitude.
  5. There is discovery of the stronger mutant version of COVID-19 in England and that the Kerala High Court order needs to be set aside to prevent the spread of coronavirus during Sabarimala festival season.

6.The transportation of the pilgrims from the KSRTC Bus stand at Pamba to Sannidhanam is also a problem considering the Covid-19 protocol formulated which mandates social distancing.

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