"NEW DRAMA UNFOLDS"
In a sudden turnout of events, yesterday, googly by the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB), left everyone stumped and shell-shocked. The Board said it is high time that a particular class not be discriminated on the grounds of “biological attributes”.
The Board had earlier also maintained that the celibate character of lord Ayyappa at Sabarimala temple, was a unique religious feature, which was protected under the Constitution and vehemently opposed the PIL by Young Lawyers Association on these grounds. TDB, which runs the historic Sabarimala Temple in Kerala took a U-turn yesterday, supporting its verdict, which allowed women of all age groups to enter the shrine. The notable point here is, the Board also comprise state Government nominees.
Kerala Government took the stand that it was in agreement with the last year’s verdict and had urged dismissal of petitions seeking review of the verdict. Rakesh Dwivedi, senior advocate appearing for TDB, told the bench, “Article 25 (1) equally entitles all persons to practice religion. Women cannot be excluded from any walk of life on biological attributes, equality is the dominant theme of the Constitution and people should gracefully accept the apex court verdict”.
The TDB Chief, Sri. A Padmakumarsaid “that the Board accepts the top court’s order on September 28th verdict and believes that there should not be any discrimation. Based on the verdict we have decided not to file a review petition. The Board accepts the SC verdict and it is of the opinion that there shouldn’t be any discrimination”.
The five-judge constitutional bench of the Supreme Court was hearing a batch of petitions seeking review of its September verdict. Several organisations including Nair Service Society and the Thantri of the shrine, have advanced arguments before the bench and sought for reconsideration of the verdict. During the hearing the petitioner argued that the court cannot force its views upon the people of Kerala who it said, have not accepted the verdict. The petitioner also claimed that the apex court’s verdict has resulted in disturbing the social peace in the state.
The Kerala Government, however, opposed the review petition, saying that there is no need to re-examine the top court’s verdict. The State Government said that the ban on women entry is not part of essential practice of Hinduism, which has the protection of the Constitution of India. The State Government said that though it acknowledges that the lifting of the ban disturbed the law and order situation in the State, however, that cannot be grounds for allowing an unconstitutional practice. “Social harmony will ultimately prevail in the State, it told the SC.
This sudden change of decision by the TDB, has surprised everyone and the supreme court has reserved its verdict on the sabarimala temple review petitions by the five judges sitting bench headed by Sri Ranjan Gogoi. This indeed has left everyone dismayed and bereft of words. The Devaswom Board though had not filed review petition but, was strongly objecting to women entering the shrine between the ages 10 and 50.
WHAT LED TO THIS CHANGE OF STANCE? WITH THE SC RESERVING ITS VERDICT ON REVIEW PETITIONS, HAVE THE FIGHTS AND STRUGGLES FOR NOT TO ALLOW WOMEN HAVE GONE VAIN? APPALLING….
RAMESH, CHENNAI BASED ADVOCATE.