Sabarimala Temple issue referred to SC constitution bench

14 October, 2017, 00:48 | Author: Garry Little
  • Sabarimala Temple

Talking to reporters in Aluva, Devaswom minister Kadakampally Surendran has said that he heartily welcomes the Supreme Court's ruling referring a five-member Constitution Bench to consider the petition relating to entry of women in Sabarimala.

Supreme Court has referred the Sabarimala Temple Case to a Constitution bench.

The court raised six questions on the issue to be considered by the Constitution bench. "Even if the court issues a verdict, respectful women won't enter the temple as rituals ban that", he said, adding that the TDB wouldn't want to make Sabarimala another Thailand.

The CPM-led Left Front government in 2007 had filed an affidavit saying that it favoured entry of women in the temple but this position was reversed in an affidavit filed by the Congress-led UDF government in February 2016.

The Constitution Bench will now be looking into several women rights claims regarding the matter, especially the women's fundamental right of freedom to pray at their place of choice. You can not refuse entry to a woman who comes there.

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The earlier UDF government's affidavit before the Supreme Court had supported the temple's tradition that the deity's form is that of a Naisthak Bramhachari who observes celibacy and therefore, young women should not worship in the temple.

Women's rights activists have high hopes from the apex court. It said that this can not be done under the Constitution. It violates the rights of women. Then again, the Constitution Bench will also choose whether the restriction is ensured by Article 25 (the privilege to religious opportunity) of the Ayyappa devotees.

The Constitution Bench will decide whether the boycott enforced under Rule 3 (b) of the Kerala Hindu Places of Public Worship (Authorisation of Entry) Rules, 1965 (ladies at such time amid which they are not by custom and usage allowed to enter a place of public worship) is violative of the basic rights of women to appreciate religion freely. "Every right needs to be balanced but every balancing has its own limitations...", the apex court had said challenging the ban.

Another point of contention was that Sabarimala temple does not have its separate administration but is regulated by the statutory Board constituted under Travancore-Cochin Hindu Religious Institutions Act, 1950.

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