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Sabarimala board now tells SC it’s OK with women’s entry


NEW DELHI: The Travancore Devaswom Board, which manages the Sabarimala temple, reversed its stand to again entry of ladies in the “menstruating age” into the shrine prior to the Supreme Court which reserved orders on Wednesday on pleas looking for review of its ruling allowing unrestricted entry of ladies.

The Kerala executive stated social solidarity has been disturbed however this may not be grounds to permit an unconstitutional observe. Parties looking for a review argued the court docket should not intervene in a specific non secular observe and that public opinion in the state had opposed the order on a significant scale.

In three and a part hours of court cases prior to a Constitution bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justices A M Khanwilkar, R F Nariman, D Y Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra, a batch of senior lawyers presented arguments in enhance of and against the 56 review petitions.

The Devaswom Board’s altered stand attracted attention because it told the court docket that it now accepts the verdict wherein the gender barrier at Sabarimala Temple were dismantled.

Those opposing unrestricted entry of ladies have argued that the observe is particular to the Sabarimala shrine and enjoys the sanction of custom while it does not observe to the deity’s other shrines. They stated Lord Ayappa, as a “perpetual bachelor”, has criminal rights that must be respected in terms of Sabarimala.

The Board had lead from the front when the apex court docket examined the constitutional validity of the observe wherein women in the age team 10-50 years have been barred. It had then submitted this is an crucial phase non secular trust and justified ban on entry for female devotees of menstruating age to take care of purity of temple.

When senior advocate Rakesh Dwivedi, appearing for the Board, told the bench that the SC verdict was once to verify equivalent entitlement to men and women, it took everybody by means of surprise and Justice Indu Malhotra requested whether the Board has modified its stand. Dwivedi replied in affirmative and stated the Board had already filed an application in this regard.

Opposing the review plea, Dwivedi stated it was once time for inclusion and ladies may just not be denied rights to worship and society has to adapt to verify they're treated similarly as men in all walks of lifestyles including at non secular places. He stated that the folk opposing the SC verdict should settle for the judgment gracefully and allow entry of all women within the temple.

Pressing for re-assessment of the apex court docket’s September, 2018 verdict, senior advocates Ok Parasaran, V Giri, A M Singhvi and Shekhar Naphade stated the court docket should have kept away from inspecting validity of a practice according to non secular religion and trust. They stated the entry of ladies in the age team of 10-50 was once prohibited because of nature of deity and it was once an internal matter of a neighborhood.

Naphade stated it was once not the jurisdiction of a court docket to come to a decision what crucial part of a religion is and it has to be made up our minds by means of the neighborhood. Referring to protests in Kerala resulting in legislation and order downside, he told the bench that social peace and solidarity was once disturbed in the aftermath of SC verdict. “The neighborhood has not approved the verdict. Can court docket force its view on them? It is past the jurisdiction of the court docket,” he stated.


Appearing for the state, senior advocate Jaideep Gupta stated no case is made out for court docket to review its verdict. He admitted social solidarity were given disturbed however stated it cannot be a floor to permit an unconstitutional observe of conserving women away. He stated the observe is not crucial part of Hinduism and practise which is against the elemental rules of Constitution needed to abolished.


Senior advocate Indira Jaising, appearing for 2 women who managed to enter the temple, stated that they have been facing a social boycott and exclusion for visiting the temple. “The undeniable fact that purification of temple was once completed after their visits showed the discrimination against them by means of treating menstruating women as impure and polluted. This hits on the heart of the charter,” she stated.


The court docket, after hearing all sides, reserved its order and allowed the parties to record their written submission.


A five-judge Constitution bench had by means of a majority of 4:1 held that devotees of Lord Ayyappa have been “exclusively Hindus” and do not represent a separate non secular denomination and the observe of exclusion of ladies may just not be considered an crucial part of the religion.


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