National

Sabarimala: SC to hear review petitions on Jan 22

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on November 13, 2018 Published on November 13, 2018

The apex court also refused to stay its verdict

The Supreme court on Tuesday agreed to hear a batch of review petitions on its verdict allowing women of all ages access to the temple on January 22, but refused to stay the order.

The ruling to hear the 49 review petitions on January 22, 2019, has helped calm the tension ahead of the opening of the Sabarimala temple on Friday.

But the September-28 order being in effect has provided fresh fuel to the intense debate on what is seen as a clear ‘break with the tradition'.

PS Sreedharan Pillai, president of the Kerala unit of the BJP, has described the apex court’s decision to hear all review petitions in an open court as a victory for the larger Sangh Parivar activists.

But he qualified his comment saying that women of the restricted age group must not be allowed entry into the temple till the the apex court issues its final order.

Traditionally, women in the age group of 10-50 years are barred from visiting the shrine as the deity is considered a ‘Naishtika Brahmachari’ (eternal celibate).

Pillai had led a six-day ‘Save Sabarimala’rath yatra that ended on Tuesday to ‘protect the customs, rituals and traditions’ at the hill shrine. The State government and the police monitored the rath yatra. There were concerns over possible repercussions of any court order ‘that was not to the liking of the activists.’

This tense phase seems to have been defused.

According to observers, status quo should continue with women of the restricted group keeping themselves away and not making any aggressive bid to enter the shrine.

Demand for all-party meet

While refusing to be quoted, they opined that it will be better for the State government to convene an all-party meeting on the matter and find a agreeable solution that is acceptable to all.

This is exactly what representatives of the Pandalam Palace, strongly linked to the Ayyappa legacy have demanded in response to Tuesday’s court order. Senior Congress leader and a former Pradesh Congress Committee President K Muraleedharan also demanded an all-party meeting at the earliest.

The Nair Service Society, among the many Hindu organisations to have filed a review petition, hoped the Devaswom Board (temple administrator) and the government will take a wise decision.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has said the government will discuss with legal experts before deciding whether young women need to be escorted by the police into the temple.

Kadakampally Surendran, Minister for Devaswom, said the government was constitutionally obliged to implement the SC’s order. It needs to be closely examined before acting on it.

Published on November 13, 2018
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