The Kerala High Court on 9th February 2022 took Suo Motu cognisance of media reports that devotees at Sree Poornathrayeesa temple in Tripunithura, Kochi were forced to wash the feet of 12 Brahmins for the atonement of their sins.
The Kerala High Court was informed today i.e 25th February 2022 by the Cochin Devaswom Board that a news report claiming that devotees at the Sree Poornathrayeesa Temple in Tripunithura were forced to wash the feet of 12 Brahmins for the atonement of sins was false.
The incident was revealed after the Malayalam daily ‘Kerala Kaumudi” published a report on February 4 alleging that such practises were still occurring in some temples across the state. The ritual was allegedly performed as part of an offering known as “Panthrandu Namaskram.”
In connection with the ‘Panthrandu Namaskaram’ ritual, the Board clarified that it is the ‘thantri’ (head priest) who washes the feet of 12 pujaris of Sree Poornathrayeesa Temple. It was also revealed that the Board had decided to rename the ‘vazhipadu’ (offering) at temples to’samaradhana.’
When the Suo Motu proceedings on the Sree Poornathrayeesa Temple ritual came up for hearing, Advocate K P Sudheer stated that the news report is in violation of the relevant provisions of the Travancore-Cochin Hindu Religious Institutions Act, as well as the practice followed in the Sree Poornathrayeesa Temple.
It is the Board’s responsibility, according to Section 73 A of the Act, to ensure that the regular traditional rites are performed strictly according to the religious institution’s practice. The rituals and ceremonies in the temple of Sree Poornathrayeesa at Tripunithura are “trite law,” according to the council, but they will continue to be performed as they were under the Ruler of Cochin.
As a result, devotees are not required to wash the feet of Brahmins in the Sree Poornathrayeesa Temple’s ‘Panthrandu Namaskaram’ ritual. The Board had previously stated on February 8 that it is the ‘thantri’ who wash the feet of 12 pujaris of Sree Poornathrayeesa Temple in connection with the ritual.
The state government had previously sought clarifications from the Devaswom Board based on a news report. The Board then directed Tripunithura Devaswom, Assistant Commissioner, and the Devaswom officer to investigate the matter.
Apart from that, on February 11, the Cochin Devaswom Board held a meeting with members of the Akhila Thanthri Samajam, during which it was decided to rename ‘vazhipadu’ to’samaradhana,’ according to reports. The decision was also communicated to the state government.
Meanwhile, the Sree Raghavapuram Sabhayogam and the All Kerala Tanthri Mandalam petitioned the court to be included in the Suo Motu proceeding. The petitions were granted by a Division Bench consisting of Justice Anil K Narendran and Justice PG Ajith Kumar. On March 4, the court will hear the case.