Big right to pray victory for women. Sabarimala Devaswom board says it accepts the Supreme Court verdict allowing entry of women into the temple.
Rakesh Dwivedi, appearing for the Board, says the Board has decided to respect the Supreme Court judgment allowing women of all ages in the temple. Earlier, the Board had argued in favour of exclusion.
Article 17 has no application. Here the exclusion is not on the basis of caste. It’s on the basis of the nature of the deity. The belief in the nature of deity cannot be measured with constitutional morality.
Abhishek Manu Singhvi appearing for Prayar Gopalakrishnan, the former Chairman of Travancore Devaswom Board:
The argument of the intrinsic character of Naishtika Bhramachari of the deity has not been dealt with by the 2018 judgment and that is my ground for review. The Gods in Hinduism are worshipped in various forms and manifestations and this particular God/ deity is worshipped in this manner.
V Giri concludes:
Untouchability has nothing to do here. Entry is sought to be prohibited only due to the nature of deity. It is not an exclusionary practice. Here the deity is considered as a living being and a Bramachari, it’s unique here and that’s the essence of this temple.
Kindly reconsider the earlier judgment.
V Giri submits:
Every devotee has a fundamental right to worship in a temple in a manner which is in sync with the character of the deity. Devotees going to the temple can’t question the practice of that temple, that’s the essence of Art 25(1). It should also be considered that even the devotees of Lord Ayyappa have their fundamental right. Customs of Sabarimala is the essence of that temple. Any person who asserts right under Article 25(2)(b) to worship has to do it in consonance with the nature of deity.
V Giri during Sabarimala hearing:
In the Hindu religion, every diety has a characteristic. Here, in Sabarimala the deity has a peculiar characteristic that he is a permanent celibate. Permanent celibate character erodes if women are allowed entry into the temple. The head priest is the considered as the father of the deity and has a right to preserve the essential character of the deity. Every devotee who goes to the temple cannot question the essential practices of the temple.
Because Lord Ayappa is an avatar or Bramachari, women between the age of 10-50 years old are not allowed there.
A woman belonging to SC community between the age 10-50 not being allowed, doesn’t that amount to discrimination & untouchability.
Restriction on women is because of the nature of the deity. Only if women belonging to SC community were not allowed, then it would come under Article 17 but here it’s not just women from SC community.
Senior Advocate K Parasaran:
Untouchability will only apply when someone is treated as less than a human being.
At this, Justice Nariman asked:
"What if they keep out a scheduled caste woman? What happens to the feeling of that woman?"
Senior Advocate Parasaran:
Supreme Court failed to appreciate that Article 15 does not refer to religious institutions. This is not a bilateral dispute. Consequences will fall on other religions too.
K Parasaran Submits:
Unless practice is very abhorrent, Court normally does not interfere in activity associated with religious institutions.
Went on to cite Jehovah Witnesses case to supplement his point.
Senior Advocate Parasaran:
There is an error apparent on the face of the record of Sabarimala judgment. Article 15(2) prohibits discrimination in access to public institutions of secular category and not of religious category. There were 3 failed attempts to amend Article 15 to include places of worship.
Senior Advocate Parasaran:
Striking a custom of a temple under Article 15 is an error which needs to be reconsidered.
Senior Advocate Parasaran making arguments on behalf of Nair society. Chief Justice of India asks lawyers to be restricted to grounds mentioned in the review petitions.
Total 65 petitions before a bench of CJI Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Rohinton Nariman, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra.
Four women have moved the Supreme Court seeking to intervene as parties in support of its last September's historic judgment which allowed women of all age groups into Sabarimala temple in Kerala.
The apex court is all set to hear the review petitions against the verdict from Wednesday.
Reshma C V, Shanila, Bindu A and Kanakadurga, hailing from Kerala, have filed applications seeking to be heard as intervenors. They are supporting the verdict.
There are around 48 pleas seeking review of the judgement filed following the violent protests in favour and against the September 28 verdict.
Of the four, Bindu and Kanakadurga, aged 44 and 42, were the first to have stepped into the hallowed precincts after the top court's historic judgement lifted the ban on entry of girls and women between 10 and 50 years of age into the shrine of Lord Ayyappa, its eternally celibate deity.
The other two applicants -- 33-year-old Reshma and 29-year-old Shanila, had twice attempted to enter the temple, first on January 15 and again on January 19. However, they were heckled and prevented by some self proclaimed devotees after which they had to discontinue.
"There are thousands of women waiting for Darshan at Sabarimala and are awaiting the final outcome of the review petitions, when this court would be pleased to hear and finally decide. The applicants may be permitted to intervene and make their submissions before this court when the Review Petitions are heard by this court, in order to oppose the Reviews," said Reshma and Shanila in their application.
Bindu and Kanakadurga, in their application said, "The judgment of this court on September 28, 2018, upheld the dignity, liberty and equality of women of all ages and sent a strong message to the society against menstrual taboo. Proposed intervenors pray that they may also be heard to oppose the review, in case this court is inclined to review the judgment. It is in the interest of justice that the Proposed Intervenors are heard".
On November 13 last year, the apex court had agreed to hear in open court in January this year the pleas seeking review of its verdict, but had refused to stay the judgement.
However, on January 22, the top court had said it may not start hearing the pleas, seeking review of Sabarimala verdict till January 30 as one of the judges of the bench, Justice Indu Malhotra, was on medical leave. Justice Malhotra, the lone woman judge in the bench, had delivered the dissenting judgement in the case last year.
Meanwhile, a plea seeking contempt action against a thantry of the Sabarimala temple has been filed alleging that he had ordered cleaning of the premises after some women had visited there.