New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday threw the gates of Sabarimala Temple open for women of all ages and said that no physiological or biological factor can be given legitimacy if it can’t pass the test of conditionality. While the Travancore Devaswom Board that has the legal authority to manage the Sabarimala Temple‘s administration said that they would not be filing a review petition in the SC and have accepted the verdict. Also Read - Don't Want to Deal With Something The Govt Already Tackling, Says SC on Plea Over Migrant Workers' Plight
Contradicting the earlier report, Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) president, A Padmakumar said they would go for a review petition after getting support from other religious heads. Also Read - COVID-19 Lockdown: Supreme Court to Hear Plea on Migrant Workers on Monday
While Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra said, “Women are worshipped as goddesses in India and they cannot be treated as lesser or weaker,” several older women devotees were saddened by the apex court’s verdict. They said that the ban on the entry of Sabarimala Temple for women aged 10 to 50 was a matter of faith and a tradition that had been going on for years.
Meanwhile, senior counsel KP Kylasanatha Pillay had said, “I don’t want another Ayodhya (like situation) in Kerala cautioning against the repercussion of interfering with practice.” Urging the court to hold its hand, he said that any interference by the top court or judicial review of the existing customs would lead to social tensions in Kerala.
Union Minister for Women & Child Development Maneka Gandhi also welcomed the decision said that it opens up and brings the way forward for Hinduism to become even more inclusive and not a property of one caste or one sex.
The Travancore Devaswom Board had earlier contended that they have the legal authority to manage the Sabarimala temple’s administration and heavily relied on Article 26 of the Constitution. Article 26 of the Constitution guarantees a religious denomination of right to manage its own internal religious affairs. The court in 4:1, however, has ruled that devotees of Lord Ayappa temple do not constitute a separate religious denomination.
The Travancore Devasom Board, which manages the temple, had estimated a loss of Rs 100 crore caused to the temple because of the flooding. Several devotees have been blaming the entry of women as the cause of the damages inside the temple since then.
The temple has a tradition of only allowing girls before they attain puberty and women above the age of 50 who are menopausal. Women between the age of 10 and 50 are banned from entering because the temple believes women who menstruate are impure. The rule was introduced by the Travancore Devasom Board that maintains the temple.