Kerala Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan has disallowed the introduction of a private bill by a Congress legislator in the assembly on the issue of entry of women of all ages into the Sabarimala temple.
The bill, urging the Left Democratic Front (LDF) government to consider devotees of Lord Ayyappa as a separate religious group and a new legislation to protect their traditional rituals and customs, was proposed by Kovalam MLA M Vincent.
The Speaker’s office told PTI that the private bill was rejected based on the advice of the Law Department that a legislation in this regard would be “unconstitutional” and against the September 28 apex court verdict, permitting women of all age groups into the hill shrine.
“The Speaker used to refer the private bills to the Law Department whether such bills had constitutional backing. We had sent this proposed bill on Sabarimala to the State Law secretary for legal scrutiny,” an official said.
“According to the Law Secretary, such a bill is unconstitutional and not qualified to be presented in the House as it will be against the Supreme Court verdict,” the official said.
The Sabarimala Lord Ayyappa temple has been witnessing intense protests by devotees and right-wing activists against the CPI(M)-led LDF government’s decision to implement the apex court verdict.
The 13th session of the Kerala Assembly, which got underway here on Tuesday, was adjourned for the day as a mark of respect to MLA P B Abdul Razak, who passed away recently. The session is expected to be stormy as the Opposition Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) and the BJP have announced that they would rake up the Sabarimala issue in the House.
A crucial UDF meeting here decided to stall proceedings of the 13 day-long assembly sessions till the Pinarayi Vijayan government withdraws the prohibitory orders invoked by police in Sabarimala and surrounding areas.
A BJP statement said that the saffron party will cooperate with the P C George-led Kerala Jana Paksham in the ongoing assembly session on the Sabarimala issue.
Both parties were in support of the Lord Ayyappa devotees, who had been on a war path to protect the traditional rituals of the hill shrine, it said. Former union minister O Rajagopal is the lone BJP MLA in the assembly.
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