The Kerala High Court ordered the Travancore Devaswom Board to inform the pilgrims through its Virtual-Q platform that no tour operator in the aviation sector has been granted permission for helicopter facility at Nilakkal, for the time being.
The DBP is registered suo motu based on the proceedings, since news items appeared in visual media regarding helicopter service packages for Sabarimala pilgrims by a private agency. A Limited Liability Partnership, by name, Enhance Aviation Services Ltd., is offering helicopter services for Sabarimala pilgrims, in its website ‘helikerala.com’.
Earlier the Senior Government Pleader submitted that the respondent District Collector and the respondent District Police Chief are not aware of any helicopter operation for Sabarimala Ayyappa Darshan by the Enhance Aviation Services.
Standing Counsel for Travancore Devaswom Board submitted that the Board has not granted permission to anyone for helicopter service at Nilakkal, in connection with Mandala-Makaravilakku festival season of 1198 M.E.
Senior Government Pleader, submitted that the office of the Enhance Aviation Services is not functioning in the address given in the website ‘helikerala.com’.
Counsel for the respondent submitted that the respondent is a tour operator in the aviation sector, who is mainly arranging helicopter services.
He submitted that the respondent has not yet obtained any permission for conducting helicopter services to Nilakkal, for pilgrims, in connection with Mandala-Makaravilakku festival season of 1198 M.E., either from the Ministry of Civil Aviation, the Travancore Devaswom Board, the District Administration or the District Police.
The division bench of Justice Anil K. Narendran and Justice P.G. Ajithkumar said that considering the fact that Sabarimala and its vicinity has been declared as Special Security Zone in terms of the notification issued under Section 83(1) and (2) of the Kerala Police Act, 2011 and taking note of various aspects of crowd management and other security aspects in Sabarimala, as pointed out in the report of the Assistant Inspector General of Police various directions have been issued restricting the movement of vehicles from Nilakkal and prohibiting parking of vehicles on the roadside from Nilakkal to Pamba.
It was stated that despite all such restrictions, the respondent offered darshan and other facilities to Sabarimala pilgrims as part of its ‘Helicopter Service Package’ without obtaining any permission whatsoever from the Travancore Devaswom Board.
The bench ordered the District Collector and the District Police Chief to submit their reports on the ‘Helicopter Service Package’ offered by the respondent.
The bench made it clear that the undertaking given by the counsel for the respondent, on behalf of the said respondent, will not absolve the said respondent from being proceeded against in accordance with law.
Case title: Suo Motu v/s Union of India
Citation: DBP NO. 75 OF 2022
Date: 19 November 2022