The Kerala High Court has ordered that no hoardings, advertisements, flags of political parties or musical concerts can be permitted at the Thekkinkadu ground in Thrissur district of the state, where the iconic ‘Thrissur Pooram’ festival is held every year.
A bench of Justices Anil K Narendran and P G Ajithkumar said except the activities already permitted by the court, any other event — including political meetings — can be allowed there only if it was sanctioned by it.
Besides that, the bench in its directive said no political party, organisation or trader can be permitted to encroach upon footpaths or right of way of public roads, in connection with protests, temple festivals, demonstrations or trade, forcing pedestrians including those with disabilities and reduced mobility to walk in unsafe circumstances.
The court said it had in 2011 and 2013 stated that as the Thekkinkadu Maidan was a Devaswom land, which is managed by the Cochin Devaswom Board as a trustee in terms of the provisions of the Travancore Cochin Hindu Religious Institutions Act no activity can be permitted there except in accordance with the objects of the trust.
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The bench said that it had also held there shall be no construction, beautification or other activities in the Thekkinkadu Maidan by the government or the Corporation of Thrissur or the Board or any other authority without obtaining specific orders from the court.
”In view of the orders referred to hereinbefore, any activity other than those permitted in terms of those orders, can be permitted in Thekkinkadu Maidan, which is a Devaswom land, which is managed by the Cochin Devaswom Board as a trustee in management of Devaswom property, only after sanction by this Court. It is ordered accordingly,” the High Court said in its order dated April 11.
It also directed that no hoardings, advertisement boards or flags of political parties or musical concerts by Rock Bands, like the one held on December 31, 2022, can be permitted at Thekkinkadu Maidan — around 61.34 acres of land in the middle of Thrissur city.
The bench also directed the Cochin Devaswom Board to ensure compliance of court orders prohibiting erection of hoardings, advertisement boards, etc., or any temporary structures are erected on the right of way or pedestrian facilities of public roads around the premises of the temples in connection with annual festival and other religious ceremonies.
Similar direction was also issued to the Thrissur Municipal Corporation with regard to areas under it.
The bench said, ”No political party, organisation or trader can be permitted to encroach upon footpaths or right of way of public roads, in connection with any protests, demonstrations or trade, by erecting any temporary structures on the right of way or on the pedestrian facilities or by stocking articles for trade forcing pedestrians including those with disabilities and reduced mobility to walk in unsafe circumstances.” The April 11 order of the High Court came on several pleas seeking protection of Vadakkumnatha Kshethara Maidan or Thekkinkadu Maidan in Thrissur which is Devaswom land owned by Sree Vadakkumnathan Temple that is under the management of the Cochin Devaswom Board.