New Delhi [India], December 24 (ANI): Kerala Chief Secretary Vishwas Mehta approached the Supreme Court against the state High Court's order which raised the number of permissible daily pilgrims at the popular Sabarimala Temple to 5,000.
"Yes, the state Chief Secretary had moved the Apex Court challenging the High Court order, raising the number of permissible daily pilgrims at the Sabarimala Temple to 5,000," G Prakash, standing counsel for the state of Kerala government, told ANI.
The Kerala High Court in its judgment on December 18, 2020, disposed a batch of writ petitions and directed the Government of Kerala to increase the number of pilgrims from 2,000 to 5,000 per day visiting the Sabarimala Shrine during the festival season starting from December 20, 2020.
This order was challenged by the State of Kerala before the Supreme Court and seeking an immediate stay on grounds of the health advisory of December 14. The Kerala government had moved the Supreme Court against the High Court order to increase the number of pilgrims per day to 5,000 from the present 2,000 to visit the Sabrimala shrine on the grounds of people's health risks, administrative difficulties and the new coronavirus strain.
The festival season will end on January 14, 2021. While increasing the number of pilgrims to 5,000 per day the High Court failed to consider the revised health advisory of December 14, limiting the number of pilgrims per day to 2,000, the petition filed by Kerala state, the plea stated.
The petitioner stated the revised health advisory has been taken note by the high-level committee headed by the Chief Secretary of the State Government and limited the number of pilgrims per day to 2,000.
The present situation of the Pathanamthitta District where the temple is situated was again considered and a report on the Covid -19 situation has been filed on December 18, he stated.
"As per this report the situation in the Pathanamthitta District is grave and therefore it recommended measures to control the Covid-19 pandemic. It is also reported in the media that a new Covid-19 virus with a new strain has been detected in England and considering that the Government of India stopped all flights to and fro from English and India. In such circumstances, if the judgment is not stayed during the pendency of these Special Level Petitions, the State will be put to irreparable loss and injury," the petition said.
To control Covid-19 pandemic during the Sabarimala temple festival from December 20 to January 14, 2021, the Government of Kerala constituted a high-level committee to consider all aspects and to fix the number of pilgrims who can be permitted per day to visit the temple, the petition said.
The enhancement of the pilgrims was done by the state High Court without considering any proper report or other documents. The number of police officials, health officials and pilgrims affected by Covid-19 in the Sabarimala Temple so far is on the higher side, the petition said.
"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," the petition said. (ANI)