Kerala Government Axes 56-year-old Act on Temple Governance
BY: STAFF CORRESPONDENT
Feb 6, THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, KERALA (HPI) Kerala rids God's abode of red tape.
The Left Front government in Kerala has passed an ordinance scrapping the 56-year-old Travancore-Cochin Devaswom Act. The ordinance is an attempt to curtail the powers of the Travancore and Cochin Devaswom boards, which manage most of the temples in Kerala.
The decision comes in the wake of allegations of corruption in the Travancore Devaswom Board, which governs the Sabarimala temple and earns about Rs 70 crore a year.
"Not only against this, action will be taken against the person involved in this. There were corruption charges against all boards, except the first and the second," says Kerala Minister for Devaswoms, G Sudakaran.
The three-member Devaswom board will now include one woman and one member from the SC/ST community.
The board's activities will also undergo judicial review from time to time. The government's move has obviously not gone down well with the board members who have reacted sharply to the issue.
The board has reacted sharply to the government's move.
"We will go to the court now to see that we get justice. The government says the board is corrupt. Even then what's the need for such an ordinance when you have a vigilance enquiry on and when already a judicial commission is also looking into the charges against the board," says a Travancore Devaswom Board member, Punalur Madhu.
By promulgating this ordinance, the government seems to have drawn the first blood in its battle against the Travancore Devaswom board.
But now the big question is: how far the government will keep away from the day-to-day activities of temples in Kerala, which otherwise will have serious implications?