Sabarimala: SC Asks Kerala Govt to Pass New Law by Jan 2020
Sabarimala SC Verdict LIVE Updates: The Supreme Court decided to refer the Sabarimala case to a larger, seven-judge bench.
Sabarimala SC Verdict LIVE Updates: The Supreme Court decided to refer the Sabarimala case to a larger, seven-judge bench.(Photo: PTI)
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Sabarimala: SC Asks Kerala Govt to Pass New Law by Jan 2020

The Supreme Court has asked the Kerala government to pass a new law for the Sabarimala Temple by January 2020. This comes after the apex court announced that a larger, seven-judge bench will re-examine various religious issues, including the entry of women at the Sabarimala temple and mosques, and the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) in the Dawoodi Bohra community.

Snapshotclose

  • Sabarimala temple reopened for Mandala-Makaravilakku puja
  • Hundreds of devotees throng to offer prayers
  • Police force women below the age of 50 to return from Pamba base camp
  • Supreme Court had referred the case to a larger bench, no stay on earlier judgment
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Sabarimala: SC Asks Kerala Govt to Pass New Law by Jan 2020

The Supreme Court has asked the Kerala government to pass a new law for the Sabarimala Temple by January 2020.

The apex court has adjourned the matter for third week of January.

Police Stops 12-Yr-Old Girl From Trekking to Sabarimala

The Kerala police has stopped a 12-year-old girl from trekking to Sabarimala on Tuesday, 19 November, after checking her identification.

The girl had come along with her father and relatives to offer prayers at the Lord Ayyappa temple.

Heavy Rush of Pilgrims in Sabarimala, 2 Women Sent Back

Amid heavy rush of devotees to the Lord Ayyappa temple, the police sent back two women devotees from Andhra Pradesh at Pamba as they were in the 'barred' 10-50 age group, reported PTI.

On Saturday, 10 women were turned back at Pamba, 5 km from the shrine, when the temple opened for the annual Mandala-Makaravilakku puja.

High-Level Meeting to Discuss Security, Amenities

A high-level temple board meet was underway at the Sabarimala shrine to discuss security measures, crowd management, basic amenities and women's entry. Though the September 2018 judgement has not been stayed, women of the barred age group are being asked to produce a court order to gain entry.

Women Should Uphold Tradition of Sabarimala Shrine: BJP Leader

“Women should allow to follow the tradition and heritage of the Sabarimala shrine, said Vanathi Srinivasan, BJP Tamil Nadu general secretary on Saturday. “They should realise this and allow to maintain the sanctity of the temple,” she added.

Women Not Being Allowed

Since Sunday morning, hundreds of devotees were thronging the Ayyappa temple to offer prayers. However, over 10 women, below the age of 50, were told to return from the Pamba base camp, which is nearly 6km downhill from the Sabarimala temple.

Social activist Trupti Desai, who was not allowed to offer prayers last year and had to return from Kochi airport due to protests, said she would be visiting Sabarimala on Sunday.

Devotees Throng Sabarimala Temple to Offer Prayers

(Photo: ANI)

Devotees throng the Sabarimala temple to offer prayers on Sunday, 17 November. The temple opened on Saturday evening for the Mandala Pooja festival.

'Working Completely Against Women', Activist Trupti Desai Slams Govt

Activist Trupti Desai on Staturday, said, “Yesterday, the government said that they won't provide security to women, so women are going to Sabarimala Temple without protection. Now, women are being stopped, so I think the government is working completely against women.”

Police Constable Collapses, Dies Near Sabarimala Complex

A 32-year-old civil police officer (CPO) posted near the Sabarimala Lord Ayyappa temple complex, for security duty, collapsed and died on Saturday morning, police said, according to PTI.

Though the CPO was rushed to the hospital from the police barracks, he was declared brought dead, they said.

The Malabar Special Police officer, Biju, hails from Perambra in Kozhikode and leaves behind wife and a seven month-old daughter.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan condoled his death.

KEY EVENT

Priests Open Sanctum Sanctorum of Sabarimala Temple

Priests have opened the sanctum sanctorum (the innermost area where the deity resides) of the Sabarimala Temple for the Mandala-Makaravilakku pooja, news agency ANI reports.

Devotees can start visiting the shrine from Sunday.

Police Deny Reports of 10 Women of Menstruating Age Being Sent Back

At least ten women of menstruating age were sent back from the Sabarimala temple on Saturday afternoon, according to ANI. The women were reportedly part of a larger group from Andhra Pradesh and wanted to offer prayers at the shrine.

The police, speaking with The News Minute, denied this claim.

District Collector of Pathanamthitta PB Nooh told ANI that after they came to know that women aren't allowed here due to temple rituals, they themselves decided to go back.

Sabarimala Temple to Open on 16 November Evening

Amid tight security, the Lord Ayyappa temple would open for the two-month pilgrim season on Saturday evening, with the CPI(M)-led LDF government making all preparations to make it a hassle-free pilgrimage.

Kandararu Mahesh Mohanararu would open the sanctum sanctorum and perform the pujas.AK Sudheer Namboodiri would take charge as the Sabarimala Melsanthi and MS Parameshwaran Namboodiri as Malikapuram Melsanthi.

The pilgrims would be allowed to climb the 18 holy steps after the padi puja and have darshan.

The portals of the hill shrine, located in a reserve forest in Western Ghats in Pathanamthitta district of the state, would be opened for the two-month-long Mandalam Makaravilakku season this evening around 5 pm.

Devotees have started arriving at Nilackal and Pamba from various parts of Kerala and neighbouring states, but would be allowed to leave for the shrine only by 2 pm.

Sabarimala Not a Place for Activism, Kerala Govt Will Not Back Publicity Mongers: Minister

In a flip-flop from its earlier stand, the Kerala government pointed to “grey areas” in the latest Supreme Court order and said women desirous of visiting Sabarimala should get a "court order."

With the two-month annual pilgrimage season set to commence from 17 November, Devaswom minister Kadakampally Surendran said Sabarimala was not a place for activism and the LDF government would not support those who make announcements about entering the hill shrine for the sake of publicity.

The government dismissed reports that police would provide security to women activists who attempt to enter the shrine. Government would not encourage those women who want to visit the shrine for publicity, Surendran added.

The CPI(M) state secretariat too expressed a similar opinion.

This is in sharp contrast to the LDF government’s stand on the issue last year when it had pushed firmly to implement the court order and equated the entry of young women into the temple to the Left’s commitment on ensuring gender equality.

Security Beefed Up Ahead of Sabarimala Temple Opening

Ahead of the opening of Sabarimala temple on Sunday, 17 November, security has been deployed and arrangements made in Kerala’s Pathanamthitta, ANI reported.

“We have deployed over 800 medical staff and established 16 medical emergency centres,” District Collector said.

Govt Must Read 'Extremely Important' Dissent Order in Sabarimala Verdict: Justice Nariman

Justice RF Nariman of the Supreme Court on Friday, 15 November, said the government must read the "extremely important dissent" order in the Sabarimala case.

Justice Nariman had penned the dissent order on behalf of himself and Justice DY Chandrachud.

"Please tell your government to read the dissent judgment delivered in the Sabaimala case yesterday, which is extremely important.... Inform your authority and the government to read it," he told Solicitor General Tushar Mehta.

He said this to Mehta when the court was hearing an appeal filed by the Enforcement Directorate challenging the Delhi High Court verdict granting bail to Karnataka Congress leader DK Shivakumar in a money laundering case.

Kerala Govt Should Ensure Law and Order Is Maintained: BJP on Sabarimala Verdict

The BJP on Thursday asked the Kerala government to ensure maintenance of law and order in the state following the Supreme Court's decision to refer the Sabarimala case to a larger bench.

While at a party's press conference Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said he will not comment on the matter except for asking the government in Kerala, where the Left is in power, to maintain law and order in the state.

The BJP has long been of the view that the Kerala government should not use force to implement an earlier Supreme Court order, which had lifted the ban on women of menstruating age from entering the Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala.

Shashi Tharoor Welcomes SC's Verdict Of Referring the Case to a Larger Bench

Congress leader and a MP from Kerala, Shashi Tharoor, welcomed the SC’s verdict to refer the Sabarimala case to a larger bench. He tweeted, “The issues involved have implications for the practice of all faiths.”

SC's Decision on Sabarimala Case in Direction to Protect Rights of Devotees, Upholding Faith: BJP Leader Santhosh

Senior BJP leader BL Santhosh welcomed the Supreme Court's decision to refer the Sabarimala case to a larger bench, claiming that it is in the direction of protecting rights of devotees and upholding faith.

Request Govt to Ensure That the Pilgrimage Goes Smoothly: Oomen Chandy

Oomen Chandy, All India Congress Committee (AICC) General Secretary said, “The SC is standing with the faith of the devotees. I request government ensure that this time the pilgrimage goes smooth, without any issues.”

Don't Interfere in Any Matters of Faith Beyond a Point: Rahul Easwar

Activist Rahul Easwar said the Supreme Court should not interfere in matters of faith beyond a point.

Trupti Desai Hopeful Larger Bench Will Deliver a Verdict Favourable to Women

After the verdict to refer the matter to a larger bench, social activist Trupti Desai said she is hopeful that the seven-judge bench will decide on the basis of constitutional rights.

SC Refers Review Pleas on Sabarimala to Seven-Judge Bench for Re-Examination

The Supreme Court on Thursday, 14 November, said restrictions on women in religious places was not limited to Sabarimala alone and was prevalent in other religions as well as it referred all review pleas to a larger seven-judge bench.

Hope SC Stands By Its 2018 Verdict on Sabarimala: Trupti Desai

Activist Trupti Desai, who has been at the forefront of advocating the rights of women of all age groups to enter Sabarimala, said she hopes the Supreme Court upholds its 2018 verdict since that will be a huge step towards “women empowerment.”

We Will Employ Only Gandhian Ways of Protest: Rahul Easwar

Social activist Rahul Eshwar to told news channel CNN News18, “We are ashamed about the violence last time. We apologise to those who got affected. Based on the verdict, we will hold a Jallikattu type Pallikattu protest. We will employ only Gandhian ways of protest.”

SC September 2018 Verdict That Allowed Women to Enter Shrine

A five-judge Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi had reserved its decision on 6 February after hearing various parties including those seeking re-consideration of the September 2018 verdict.

Other judges on the bench are Justices RF Nariman, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra.

The apex court, by a majority verdict of 4:1, on 28 September 2018, had lifted the ban that prevented women and girls between the age of 10 and 50 from entering the famous Ayyappa shrine in Kerala and had held that this centuries-old Hindu religious practice was illegal and unconstitutional.

Kerala Govt, Temple in Favour of SC Verdict

The five-judge Constitution Bench had heard the pleas in an open court and reserved its decision after hearing the parties, including Nair Service Society, the thantri of the temple, The Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) and the state government, in favour and against the review plea.

The TDB, which runs the Sabarimala temple, had made a U-turn to support the Supreme Court's order allowing women of all ages to enter the shrine.

The TDB had joined the Kerala government to oppose a batch of pleas seeking review of the historic verdict. The board had later asserted that its latest position was not due to any political pressure.

Who Are The Parties Contesting the SC Verdict?

At the outset, the bench told lawyers it would hear only those who are parties to review petitions and asked them to confine arguments on grounds for reconsideration of the judgment.

Senior advocate K Parasaran, appearing for Nair Service Society, assailed the majority verdict, saying Article 15 of the Constitution throws open for public the secular institutions of the country but doesn't deal with religious institutions.

Seeking a reconsideration, he said the Article 17 which deals with abolition of untouchability in society was wrongly used by the court in its judgment as exclusion of certain age groups of women was not based on caste.

Senior advocate AM Singhvi, representing TDB's ex-chairperson, argued in favour of a review of the judgment.

"There is no exclusion of women. There is no exclusion of men. There is no exclusion of a class of men or women based on religion and caste. There is an exclusion inside a class (women). Hence Article 17 (removal of untouchability) will not apply," Singhvi had said.

Senior advocate V Giri, who represented the shrine thantry, said the temple allows entry of all persons inside and there is no exclusion of any class of citizen based on caste, gender and religion.

"The fundamental right to worship also includes the character of the deity and every devotee cannot question this character which also formed part of the essential religious practice there," he had said.

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