A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on Thursday (October 25) disposed of writ petitions challenging the recent amendments brought to the Act by the government citing that the Commissioners of the Travancore and Cochin Devaswom Boards are appointed only in terms of the provisions of the Travancore Cochin Hindu Religious Institutions Act that decree appointment of only Hindus in these posts.
The petitions challenging the new amendments were filed by Bharatiya Janata Party State president PS Sreedharan Pillai and the Akhila Kerala Thanthri Mandalam, reported The Hindu.
In an affidavit, the State government showed that the allegations made against the amendment that it would facilitate appointments of people who were not Hindus to the post was wrong. As per Section 29(1) of the Travancore Cochin Hindu Religious Institutions Act, 1950, the Devaswom Department would consist only of Hindu officers and others may be determined by the board on timely basis, which means that the Davaswom Department shall consist of only Hindu officers, the government added.
The new amendments only specified that the Devaswom Commissioners were to be appointed either by way of promotion from among eligible deputy commissioners or, in their absence, by the deputation of officers below the rank of Additional Secretary to the State government. The amendments did not say that non-Hindus should be appointed to these posts. Section 29(1) of the Act made it very clear that Hindus should be selected to all the positions under the boards, it said.
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