Kerala High Court raises cap on number of devotees allowed to enter Sabarimala

    On Friday the Kerala supreme court instructed that from December 25 only 5,000 pilgrims will be allowed inside Sabarimala temple a day ranging from December 20. (Sunil KP v. Travancore Devaswom Board and Ors. and connected petitions)

    The Court passed this direction regarding the COVID-19 positivity test by saying that antigen test can not be contemplated as a conclusive test.

    The government had previously capped the daily number at 1,000. A Division Bench of Justices CT Ravikumar and K Haripal pronounced a judgment to the present effect on Friday raising the daily limit of pilgrims to 5000.

    “Taking under consideration the pandemic situation and all the previous condition, we are of the view that the permission for only 5000 pilgrims is being granted for the safety of the people,” the Court ruled.

    The Court also stated that the pilgrims need to provide a COVID-19 negative certificate from a NABL accredited ICMR-approved lab according to the High-Level Committee of Kerala government.

    The Committee has said that the pilgrims should do COVID-19 test within 48hours of reaching the temple. The Court, however, deemed that an equivalent might be enforced after December 30, when the shrine opened for the bustling Makaravilakku season.

    Until then, the present rule of conducting antigen can continue, the Court noted. The Court however refused to interfere with the opposite restrictions imposed regarding the ritual of Neyyabhishekam, noting the very fact that the choice was taken supported the stand of the Thantri. The petition was filed by a Chennai based devotee Sunil KP through Advocate M S Suvidutt.