The CPI(M) state secretary A Vijayaraghavan on Saturday said that Kerala'Congress-led UDF's announcement about protecting the 'rights of the Ayyappa devotees' when the UDF is voted to power was a programme to 'fool the people of the state'. While asserting that UDF is not going to come to power in the state, Vijayaraghavan said that legislation cannot be made on a matter which is under consideration of the larger bench of the court. "It has no legal authority," he added.
This comes after UDF on Saturday said that if it is voted to power, it would pass legislation on Sabrimala to protect the customs of the shrine.
CPI state secretary said, "The law passed in 1995 under the leadership of AK Antony to overturn the Supreme Court judgment did not exist. The state legislature cannot take the decision on a matter which has to be decided by the court. If the court decides, the government should act accordingly. That is the rule of law."
Stating that the Kerala government will act according to the decision of the Supreme Court, Vijayaraghavan said that UDF's latest announcement is its agenda to fool the people. Accusing Congress leadership in Kerala of feeding by fooling the people, he said, the people will reject this new law.
Earlier on Friday, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had said that Congress is using Sabarimala issue as their propaganda for the upcoming state assembly polls. The Chief Minister also said, "People of Kerala have rejected it in local body election. Congress thinks they can get votes in the Assembly election in the name of Sabarimala."
On September 28, 2018, the SC lifted the ban on entry of women belonging to all age groups in the Sabarimala temple, which sparked off huge protests across Kerala. The Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) which manages the shrine, argued that the SC could not interfere with a century-old belief. The ban on entry of women has been justified on the grounds that Lord Ayyappa, the presiding deity is celibate. On the other hand, the government of Kerala supported the verdict maintaining that religious practices that clashed with fundamental rights could be set aside.
Both BJP and Congress rallied against the SC's decision, claiming the 'Right to pray'. Then-BJP chief Amit Shah maintained that the Court should not interfere in any religion's customs. On the other hand, Rahul Gandhi opposed his party saying, "My stand is against the party's stand. Men and women are equal. Women should be allowed to go anywhere they want.”
Later in November 2019, a 5-member constitution bench of the Supreme Court comprising then-Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Nariman, Justice Khanwilkar, Justice Chandrachud, and Justice Malhotra on Thursday referred the Sabarimala review pleas to a 7-member larger bench by a 3:2 verdict. While delivering its verdict, the apex court clubbed the entry of women in mosques and the tower of silence, the legality of female genital mutilation in the Dawoodi Bohra community along with the Sabarimala issue. While there is no stay on the earlier judgment which allowed the entry of women between the age group of 10 to 50 years into Sabarimala temple, the Kerala government has not allowed women to enter the temple. The hearing of the case is on.
(With ANI inputs)