The Kerala government's decision to reserve posts in Devasom Boards only for Hindu legislators who believe in god has come under attack.
The decision was announced by Chief Minister Oomen Chandy Monday evening, after the weekly cabinet meeting.
It specifies that Hindu legislators who believe in God will be eligible to be elected a member to the Devasom Boards, which administer temples, of Travancore, Cochin and Malabar.
The Travancore Devasom Board is the richest of the lot. The famed Sabarimala temple comes under its jurisdiction.
An ordinance brought out by the government has decided to reduce the term of office of members from three years to two and retain the number of members in the board as three.
Of the three, one is to be elected by Hindu legislators in the Kerala assembly. The other two are nominated by the government or Hindu ministers.
The ordinance says that all Hindu legislators have to sign an affidavit that they are not only believers but also have faith in temple rituals.
The Left opposition in the assembly led by the Communist Party of India-Marxist has 46 Hindu legislators while the ruling Congress-led front has just 27 Hindus.
The Kerala assembly has 140 members: the Congress front has 73 members and the Left 67.
"The new ordinance is against the fabric of the constitution," CPI-M state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan told reporters here Wednesday.
Former Travancore Devasom Board president Raman Nair said he failed to understand the objection.
"Is it not just and fair that only believers need to have a say in temple affairs?" Nair said.
Another amendment in the ordinance, which will be sent to the governor, is that there will be no reservation for women in the three-member board.
"This is totally unfair because it's the women who constitute the majority of believers," said Bindu Krishna, president of Mahila Congress, the party's women's wing.