New Delhi: Days after the Supreme Court allowed the entry of women of all ages in Sabarimala temple, the National Ayyappa Devotee Association on Monday filed a review petition in the apex court, challenging the earlier verdict.
Chief Minister Pinayari Vijayan had called for a meeting today. The CM said, “The government will implement the Supreme Court verdict on the entry of women in Sabarimala temple. Filing a review petition is against the stand. It is the responsibility of the government to implement the verdict of the SC. It is not the policy of the government to fight with believers. Their interest will be protected. The government is ready for discussion.” He said the RSS was trying to create a law and order situation in the state by taking advantage of this verdict.
The chief priest of Sabarimala Temple had snubbed the CM’s call for meeting even as devotees of Lord Ayappa staged protests in Delhi, Bengaluru and Chennai. On Sunday, Sabarimala priest Kantararu Mohanaru said they would want to hear the final decision of the state government with regard to the filing of a review petition against the apex court’s verdict. Their course of action would depend on the same, the priest added. Mohanaru further said, “To deploy female police personnel in the temple premises is a violation of the temple practices.” (Also read: Kerala Govt Gears up For Entry of Women in Sabarimala Temple)
A five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra in its 4-1 verdict held that “the devotees of Lord Ayyappa are just Hindus and do not constitute a separate religious denomination” and the rule that stipulates exclusion of entry of women of the age group of 10 to 50 years, is a clear violation of the right of such women to practise their religious belief.
The top court in its 411-page verdict said the practice of exclusion of women of a particular age group being followed at the shrine cannot be regarded as an essential religious practice as claimed by the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB). The temple barred women of a “menstruating age”– defined as between the ages of 10 and 50–from entering.
“Any rule based on discrimination or segregation of women pertaining to biological characteristics is not only unfounded, indefensible and implausible but can also never pass the muster of constitutionality,” a verdict pronounced by Justice Misra for himself and Justice AM Khanwilkar said.