Shobha Surendran apologises, withdraws plea against cops; fined Rs 25,000

Shobha Surendran tenders apology in court, withdraws plea against cops at Sabarimala
The HC also slapped her with a fine of Rs 25,000 for 'wasting the court's time

Observing that a plea filed by BJP leader Shobha Surendran was for "cheap publicity" and "abuse" of the court process, the Kerala High Court on Tuesday dismissed it and imposed a cost of Rs 25,000 on her.

Reports said the BJP leader apologised to the court.

A division bench of Chief Justice Hrishikesh Roy and Justice A K Jayasankaran Nambiar termed as "mischievous" the public interest litigation seeking a direction to the state government to furnish all cases that resulted in acquittals from January 7, 2014 till now and also the designation and names of the officers who had probed the cases.

Terming her case an experimental litigation, the court even turned down her request to withdraw the petition observing that it would set a bad precedent and send out a wrong message.

In her petition, Sobha sought a directive to take disciplinary action against police officers who had investigated criminal cases that resulted in acquittals.

She accused the police of registering several false cases against the poor and downtrodden in the state.

The BJP leader also cited alleged incidents of an IPS officer daring to question a high court judge during his Sabarimala pilgrimage and humiliation of a Union minister by the same officer on the pretext of maintaining law and order.

On September 28, a five-judge Constitution bench had paved the way for entry of women of child-bearing age into the temple, saying the ban amounted to gender discrimination. The BJP and other right-wing outfits have been on a warpath after the Left government decided to implement the SC order. After the protests erupted, the police had thrown a huge security cordon over Sabarimala and nearby areas. Prohibitory orders and restrictions were also imposed in and around the hilltop shrine.

TDB seeks more time

Meanwhile, the Travancore Devaswom Board, which manages the shrines, has sought more time to set up facilities for women devotees. In an affadavit filed in the Kerala High Court, the TDB said it has moved the top court seeking more time to implement the verdict citing security issues and inadequate amenities. However, it said facilities, including wash-rooms for women, were available at Pamba, Nillakkal and Sannidhanam.

The TDB gave the explanation while the Kerala HC was considering a petition by four women, seeking protection to enter the temple.

Read more: Sabarimala news

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