'What arrangements were permitted for other marriages?' Kerala HC raps Guruvayur Devaswom after Ravi Pillai's son's wedding

Ravi Pillai
Industrialist Ravi Pillai and family offered an emerald-studded golden crown weighing 725 gram at the Guruvayur Temple on Wednesday.

Kochi: The Kerala High Court on Tuesday asked the Guruvayur Devaswom managing committee how many marriages were conducted there in the last one month and what were the arrangements permitted for each of them.

The query, one among several, was posed by the court to the temple's committee during hearing of a petition initiated by the court on its own, based on news reports of the decorations for the wedding of industrialist Ravi Pillai's son.

The other queries posed to the committee by a bench of Justices Anil K Narendran and K Babu were -- why private security personnel were deployed for the wedding and whether devotees were prevented from entering the temple on the wedding days.

The bench sought a detailed affidavit from the Guruvayur Devaswom managing committee on the queries raised by the court before the next date of hearing on October 5.

The court also impeded the Devaswom secretary, Kerala government, Thrissur ASP, the temple managing committee's Administrator, industrialist Ravi Pillai, as well as the Collector and sectoral Magistrate of the area and issued notices to them, seeking their response in the matter.

The court said that while people have a right to arrange marriages at the temple, it has to be restricted to the infrastructure available there.

The Administrator of the Guruvayur Devaswom, meanwhile, had filed an affidavit before the court, stating that the news reports, based on which the petition was initiated, were not fully correct and contained misleading facts.

The affidavit said that Pillai was granted permission only to perform 'pushpalankaram' (flower decorations). However, the event management team hired by him had carried out some additional decoration work.

It also said that when the temple officials noticed the additional work, it was ordered to be dismantled and the same was done by the event management company's workers.

It further said that no violation of COVID-19 norms was permitted during the wedding and urged the bench to drop the suo motu proceedings.

The affidavit was filed in response to the court's September 7 order, asking the administrator of the Guruvayur Devaswom managing committee to explain why the 'nadappanthal' in front of the temple was decorated with huge cutouts and tree branches for the September 9 wedding of the industrialist's son, as was reported in the media.

A 'nadapanthal' is a structure set up in front of the temple for conducting various functions like weddings.

The administrator was asked to file an affidavit explaining the facts and circumstances in which the 'nadappanthal' was decorated with the huge cutouts and branches of trees.

The committee, on that date of hearing, had told the court that over 100 marriages were being conducted in the nadappanthal in front of Guruvayur Temple in strict conformity with COVID-19 protocol, with each marriage party being permitted to have only 12 people, excluding the bride and bridegroom. 

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