TDB to meet soon to finalise stand on Sabarimala issue
Pathanamthitta: The Travancore Devaswom Board, which manages the Sabarimala Lord Ayyappa temple, on Thursday said it will meet soon and take a stand necessary to protect the beliefs and faith related to the hilltop shrine.
The statement comes even as a nine-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court is all set to hear from January 13, the issue of allowing women and girls of all ages to enter the shrine along with other contentious issues of alleged discrimination against Muslim and Parsi women.
TDB president N Vasu told reporters that the Board does not intend to make the shrine a place of violence.
"We will consider the interests of the devotees, the legal issues with regard to the Sabarimala verdict, and the present situation of the shrine. We want the prevailing peace and harmony of the shrine to continue," Vasu said.
Meanwhile, State Devaswom minister Kadakampally Surendran said the Left government will reiterate its earlier stand on Sabarimala in the Supreme Court that the decision on women's entry be taken after seeking the opinion of an expert panel on religion.
He said the state government has expressed the same stand in the affidavits filed in 2007 and 2016 and will repeat it, if needed.
"On Sabarimala, the state always had one stand. It was mentioned in the 2007 affidavit itself. We have repeated the same in 2016 affidavit. If needed, we will reiterate the same in the Supreme Court. We have said that since that matter was related to the rituals and traditions, the decision on women's entry should be decided after considering the opinion of a panel consisting of experts in Hindu religion," Surendran said.
The top court had, on January 6, issued a notice informing listing of petition filed by Indian Young Lawyers Association seeking review of its September 28, 2018 judgment allowing women and girls of all ages to enter the hill temple.
On November 14, 2019, a five-judge constitution bench in a 3:2 majority verdict had referred to a larger 7-judge bench, the pleas seeking review of its 2018 judgment.
It had however said the debate about the constitutional validity of religious practices like bar on entry of women and girls into a place of worship was not limited to the Sabarimala case.
The apex court said such restrictions are there with regard to entry of Muslim women into mosques and 'dargah' and Parsi women, married to non-Parsi men, being barred from the holy fire place of an Agyari.
The bench said that it was time for the apex court to evolve a judicial policy to do "substantial and complete justice."