Kochi: The Kerala High Court has banned begging and sale of lottery tickets on the premises and surroundings of temples that function under the Travancore and Kochi Devaswom Boards. A division bench comprising Justice Thottathil B Radhakrishnan and Justice Anu Sivaraman said that all temples except those serving free food should make sure that no begging is entertained.
Begging should not be allowed anywhere on the temples’ premises and also at places where the local bodies have earmarked for temple use. Both the Devaswoms have also been directed to ensure that no begging happens at devotee travel points such as Pampa, Sannidhanam and other temples en route the Sabarimala hill shrine during the Makara Vilakku and Mandala Pooja seasons.
Efforts towards effective implementation of the ban need to be taken by the district collectors, RDOs, Tehsildars and other Revenue Department officials, the court ordered. It has been found that begging has turned out to a menace for devotees on pilgrimage, and efforts need to be taken to end this, the court said.
The HC also called upon revenue officials to coordinate with the police to check the sale of lottery tickets in and around temples. The court also urged the state police chief and the devaswoms to issue notices in this regard.