Kerala HC seeks information into alleged trespass incident in protected area of Ponnambalamedu near Sabarimala

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Court initiated suo motu case in the matter and acted on the Sabarimala special commissioner's report.

The Kerala High Court on Monday sought information from the Deputy Director, Periyar West Division, and the District Police Chief about the current stage of the investigation into the alleged trespass by some people into the sacred 'Kalthara' of Ponnambalamedu, a protected forest area near the Sabarimala Temple. The Senior Government Pleader was asked to seek instructions from the relevant authorities.

The Division Bench, comprised of Justices Anil K. Narendran and P.G. Ajithkumar, started this suo motu case in the matter and acted on the Sabarimala special commissioner's report.

The problem was brought to light after a video of certain individuals performing puja at Ponnambalamedu surfaced online. The sacred place is also a component of the Periyar Tiger Reserve's core zone.

Court noted that a crime had already been registered in the current case alleging the commission of an offence under Sections 295 (Injuring or defiling a place of worship with intent to insult the religion of any class), 295A (Deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs), 447 (Punishment for criminal trespass), and 34 (Acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the Indian Penal Code.

The Court suo motu impleaded the District Police Chief of Pathanamthitta and the Station House Officer of Moozhiyar Police Station, as additional respondents.

Upon the request of the Deputy Solicitor General of India and the Standing Counsel for the Travancore Devaswom Board for further time to obtain instructions from the respondents, court posted the matter on May 24, 2023 for further hearing.

Case Title: Suo Moto vs. Union of India & Ors.