Temples Can't Be Used for Politics: Kerala HC Dismisses Plea Seeking Permit to Erect Saffron Flags

The petitioners claiming to be devotees of the Muthupilakkadu Sree Parthasarathy temple wanted to put up flags on the temple.

New Delhi: The Kerala high court has dismissed a petition seeking permission to erect saffron flags on a temple, observing that temples cannot be used for political one-upmanship.

“Temples stand as beacons of spiritual solace and tranquility, their sanctity and reverence being of paramount importance. Such hallowed spiritual grounds must not be diminished by political maneuverings or attempts at one-upmanship. …The actions and intentions of the petitioners are clearly at odds with the serene and sacred atmosphere to be maintained in the temple”, Bar and Bench news outlet quoted the court as saying.

The petitioners claiming to be devotees of the Muthupilakkadu Sree Parthasarathy temple wanted to put up flags on the temple. They alleged that their attempts to put saffron flags on the temple premises during special occasions and festivals were obstructed by the respondents, allegedly using their political links. According to the petitioners, they formed an organisation in 2022 called ‘Parthasarathy Bakthajanasamithi’, which is aimed at the welfare of the temple and its devotees.

During the course of the hearing, the Kerala government’s lawyer argued that allowing the petitioners to put up flags and festoons associated with a certain political party would be tantamount to “allowing the temple to be used as a battleground for political one-upmanship”. The government also alleged that there were numerous clashes on the temple premises earlier due to the actions of petitioners. One of the petitioners, the government alleged, is also involved in multiple criminal cases.

It was also brought to the notice of the court that the temple’s administrative committee had passed a resolution banning the installation of flags, banners, among others, of any political parties or organisations within a radius of 100 meters of the Kanikkavanchi.

The government’s lawyer also drew the attention of the court that in 2020, it had directed the police to remove any such installation from temple premises.

After hearing various sides, the court in its ruling, said, “The petitioners have not demonstrated any legitimate authority to conduct temple rituals as they have prayed for. Furthermore, they cannot be allowed to erect flags or festoons in or around the temple, in light of the orders issued by this Court and decision taken by the administrative committee.”