New procedure to elect head priests of Sabarimala
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Last Updated: Monday, June 27, 2011, 21:08
Thiruvananthapuram: Head priests of the Sabarimala Ayyappa temple will now be selected by a special selection committee comprising members of the Travancore Devaswom Board among others.

The committee will interview the applicants, award marks and select the head priests or 'melsantis' of both Sabarimala and Malikappuram temples, TDB president M Rajagopalan Nair told reporters here on Monday.

The TDB manages the Lord Ayyappa hill shrine.

The new procedure was adopted against the backdrop of discussions initiated by former Supreme Court judge K T Thomas, who was appointed by the apex court as a mediator to resolve the disputes in the matter.

"There have been disputes about the selection process of head priests of Sabarimala for more than a decade. TDB used to select the priests earlier for a long period. However, members of Thazhamon Madom also became the part of the selection committee since 2002," Nair said.

The erstwhile Pandalam royal family had approached the court along with the 'thantri' (priest) family claiming rights in priests' selection following which the court appointed Thomas as a mediator, he said.

All parties including the royal house and 'thantri' family had agreed to the setting up of the new selection committee, he said.

Besides, TDB members, the panel will also have two 'thantris' of Thazhamon Madom and an expert 'thantri' from outside.

The selection committee will be valid for a year. But the same procedure will be adopted for its composition every year.


First Published: Monday, June 27, 2011, 21:08

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