Wednesday, October 28, 2020
Home News Reports The Sabarimala saga so far: The verdict, the devotees and the communist government

The Sabarimala saga so far: The verdict, the devotees and the communist government

The temple will open later this week for the pilgrimage session. The Kerala government is adamant on imposing the SC order. The Supreme Court today admitted the review petitions and set the date for hearing to January 22.

Sabarimala is an ancient Sastha temple dedicated to Lord Ayappa. It is located in the Periyar Tiger Reserve in the Western Ghat mountain ranges of Pathanamthitta District, Kerala. The temple is open to people belonging to all religions. The pilgrims are required to undertake a 41-day penance to visit the temple.

In 1991, the temple’s custom of prohibiting the women of menstruating age was challenged before the Kerala High Court in S. Mahendran v. The Secretary, Travancore. The custom was upheld by the court as constitutional and justified. In 2006, Indian Young Lawyers Association filed a public interest litigation petition before the Supreme Court challenging the Sabarimala Temple’s custom of prohibiting women of menstruating from entering the temple. The Association argued that the custom violates the rights to equality under Article 14 and freedom of religion under Article 25 of female devotees. The Supreme Court issued notices to the parties on 18th August 2006. After the matter was referred to a three-judge bench on 7th March 2008, it came up for hearing seven years later, on 11th January 2016.

The case was finally referred to a Constitution bench comprising of former CJI Deepak Mishra, Justice R Bhanumathi and Justice Ashok Bhushan. On 28th September 2018, the Constitution Bench comprising of CJI Deepak Mishra, Justice Rhington Nariman, Justice Indu Malhotra, Justice A M Khanwilkar and Justice D Y Chandrachud, delivered the judgment. The court by 4:1 majority ruled that Sabarimala’s exclusion of women violated the fundamental rights of women between the ages of 10-50 years and Rule 3(b) of the Public Worship Rules was unconstitutional.

Justice Indu Malhotra, the sole lady judge in the bench, was the sole dissenting voice that stood for the traditions of the temple. She observed that matters of deep religious sentiment should not be interfered with by the court. She said that the shrine and the deity are protected by Article 25 of the constitution and hence, the court should not interfere unless there is an aggrieved person from that religion or section. Justice Malhotra further observed that the subject of rationality should not be seen in religious beliefs and that there are clear attributes that there exists a section with identifiable characteristics, they constitute religious denomination.

While the case was sub-judice, several women’s groups and NGOs had run a campaign named ‘Ready to wait’, signifying that the women devotees of Lord Ayappan are ready to reach the age of 50 so they can take the pilgrimage for darshan. The NGO People for Dharma, activists Anjali George, Padma Pillai and lawyer J Sai Deepak have been crucial in uniting thousands of devotees and supporters around the world.

Soon after the Supreme court decision in the case was delivered, protests erupted against the decision of the court. Men and women came out on the streets protesting against the interference of the court in the traditions of the temple. A review has been filed in the Supreme Court against the judgment by the Pandalam royal family, the Nair Service Society, the Tanthri or the chief priest of the Sabarimala temple and National Ayyappa Devotees Association.

Despite being aware of the outrage among the devotees against the judgment, the Kerala Chief Minister refused to file a review petition against the court order. He said that he will abide by the decision of the Apex Court and will provide facilities to devotees who wish to visit Sabarimala. The temple priests boycotted the talks called by the Kerala government.

No female devotee of Lord Ayyappa tried to enter the shrine. Two women activists, Kavitha Jakkala (a journalist) and Rehana Fatima (a Muslim), none of whom was a devotee of Lord Ayyappa, tried to enter the shrine amidst full police protection but they were met with resistance of the protesting devotees. Another woman, Mary Sweety, also returned midway as she was stopped by the protesters. The erstwhile royal family of Pandalam asked the head priest to close the doors of the shrine as two women headed for the temple under police protection. Meanwhile, the State Devaswom (religious trusts)  minister, Kadakampally Surendran, said that while people of all ages should be allowed to go there, it should not be made into a place where activists come and showcase their power.

The BJP came out strongly in support of Ayappa devotees with the BJP President Amit Shah assuring that the Karyakartas of the BJP will be standing beside the devotees of Lord Ayyappa like a rock in the battle to defend the tradition of Sabarimala. The Congress party which initially welcomed the Supreme Court verdict, later on witnessing the mounting protests by the devotees, took a soft stand and said that while the SC verdict is welcome, traditions at religious places of worship must not be disturbed.

Amidst the growing protests and the coldness of the Communist government towards the devotees, the former TDB president Prayar Gopalakrishnan started the ‘no-donation campaign’ to mark protest over women’s entry in the temple. He urged the devotees to deposit paper pieces with the writing ‘Swami Saranam’ in the offering boxes instead of money. The Communist government crossing the limits of humanity lathicharged the peaceful protesters and arrested thousands of them. Cases were registered against hundreds of peaceful devotees. The Kerala High Court expressed displeasure over the action of the Kerala government.

The Kerala government had beefed up the security at the shrine as the temple reopened on Nov 5 and 6 to ensure the safe entry of women in the temple. However, no woman of the restricted age group entered the temple. The Lord Ayyappa temple’s three-month-long pilgrim season is commencing from November 17 and the state government has reiterated that all devotees would be allowed to offer prayers at the shrine.

As per latest reports, the Supreme Court has admitted all 49 review petitions on the September 28 verdict. An open court hearing to commence on January 22.

  Support Us  

Whether NDTV or 'The Wire', they never have to worry about funds. In name of saving democracy, they get money from various sources. We need your support to fight them. Please contribute whatever you can afford

OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

Related Articles

Trending now

“Dawood Ibrahim administrating legal, financial and mental attack on Republic TV, Arnab Goswami may face physical attack”: Former Bureaucrat RV Subramani

RV Subramani speaks on how Arnab Goswami touched the wrong nerve of Dawood Ibrahim and many politicians by reportage on Bollywood drug nexus

TeleMedicine: Technology bridging the doctor-patient gap to strengthen public healthcare system

Telecardiology helps connect cardiologists and patients in remote areas so that they could get timely report leading to proper diagnosis.

Bihar: The shocking story of Jungle Raj hidden in voter turnouts

The shocking story of Jungle Raj in Bihar no one told you.

Munger Police deactivates its Twitter account amidst claims of SP Lipi Singh being suspended over Durga Puja violence

SP Munger had earlier defended police action on devotees during the Durga Visarjan procession, claiming they provoked the force by pelting stones

NIA raids offices of Greater Kashmir and ‘activist’ associated with NGO that called Amarnath Yatra ‘militarised pilgrimage’

The NIA also carried out raids at the offices of another dubious NGO called 'Athroat', a houseboat named 'HB Hilton' in the Dal Lake and on the residence of 'activist' Khurram Parvez.

BJP MLA Krishnanand Rai’s widow writes to Priyanka Gandhi urging her to stop shielding Mukhtar Ansari, accused of killing her husband

Mukhtar Ansari is currently lodged in a jail in Punjab which is governed by Congress party, which has refused to transfer him to UP

Recently Popular

Faridabad: A month after college student Nikita files molestation complaint against Taufeeq, he shoots her dead

As per reports, the accused initially wanted to abduct the victim but killed her when she resisted him.

Nikita Tomar murder: Taufeeq was pressurising her to embrace Islam family alleges

On Monday, 21-year-old Nikita Tomar was shot to death in broad daylight outside the Aggarwal college in Ballabgarh, Faridabad

Chinese state-run channel shows the portrait of Prophet Muhammad, netizens ask if Muslim nations will boycott China

Arslan Hidayat, an Uyghur Rights Activist, took to Twitter shared a video of a Chinese TV series on Twitter in which it was depicted that an Arab ambassador visiting China during the rule of Tang dynasty gifts a portrait of the Prophet Muhammad to the Chinese emperor.

Charlie Hebdo mocks Turkish President Recep Erdogan in its latest cartoons, shows him lifting a skirt of woman wearing ‘hijab’

The front-page caricature of Wednesday's edition of Charlie Hebdo that was released online on Tuesday night depicts Erdogan in a white T-shirt and underpants, drinking a can of beer and lifting up the skirt of a woman wearing a hijab to reveal her naked bottom.

Nikita Tomar murder: Main accused Tauseef belongs to a family of influential Congress politicians from Nuh in Haryana

The prime accused Tauseef's grandfather, uncles and cousin brothers are all infuential Congress politicians from Haryana's Nuh

YouTuber Lakshay Chaudhary levels serious allegations of fraud against Gaurav Wasan of Swad Official whose video on ‘Baba ka Dhaba’ had gone viral

Gaurav Wasan of Swad Official had uploaded a video about the financial difficulties faced by the elderly couple of 'Baba ka Dhaba'.
- Advertisement -

While appealing Muslim counties to counter Islamophobia, Imran Khan says ‘criticism or questioning of Holocaust’ is criminalised in many counties

Pakistan PM confuses between Holocaust denial and Holocaust criticism, says the criticism is criminalised many countries

Republic TV issues statement condemning Mumbai Police summons to their investors in relation to the TRP scam

Republic TV said that crime branch has asked all investors of the channel to produce all financial transactions relating to last five years

Param Bir Singh tortured me with belt, Saffron Terror allegation was Congress conspiracy to paint India as a terrorist state: Pragya Singh Thakur

Pragya Singh Thakur said that Param Bir Singh and Hemant Karkare had tortured her the most when she was in the custody of ATS

Delhi government begins crackdown on Diwali, 11 anti-firecracker squads to be formed to prevent use of crackers other than ‘Green Crackers’

Delhi govt announced that an anti-firecracker campaign will be launched on November 3 ahead of the Diwali festival

“Dawood Ibrahim administrating legal, financial and mental attack on Republic TV, Arnab Goswami may face physical attack”: Former Bureaucrat RV Subramani

RV Subramani speaks on how Arnab Goswami touched the wrong nerve of Dawood Ibrahim and many politicians by reportage on Bollywood drug nexus

Watch: Pro-India accounts disrupt Pakistan’s anti-India online meeting on Zoom, play pro-Hindu and Indian nationalistic songs

Indic social media users caused embarrassment to Pakistani authorities and diplomats after they raided their online event on zoom

Lord Ram’s effigy burnt in Amritsar on Dussehra, case registered after BJYM and VHP members held protests

In a video of the incident, some people were seen burning an effigy of Lord Ram on the occasion of Dussehra

TeleMedicine: Technology bridging the doctor-patient gap to strengthen public healthcare system

Telecardiology helps connect cardiologists and patients in remote areas so that they could get timely report leading to proper diagnosis.

Adivasis and family of Gond tribal leader Komaram Bheem objects to his Muslim look in the upcoming ‘RRR’ movie

Komaram Bheem’s grandson Sone Rao said that the movie RRR depicting Bheem as Muslim is nothing but a 'distortion'

Bihar: The shocking story of Jungle Raj hidden in voter turnouts

The shocking story of Jungle Raj in Bihar no one told you.

Connect with us

245,563FansLike
470,365FollowersFollow
19,500SubscribersSubscribe