The CPI (M)-led LDF government in Kerala reiterated its earlier stand that women of all ages should be allowed entry to Sabarimala shrine in Pathanamthitta district in the state.
The government maintained its stand in an affidavit submitted in the Supreme Court on Monday on the on-going case pertaining to the ban on entry of women of menstruating age to the Ayyappa shrine.
The government said that it does not wish to deter from the earlier affidavit submitted on the matter during the previous LDF government’s tenure in 2007 and pleaded that the affidavit submitted by the UDF government need not be considered.
In the run up to the May 2016 elections, the UDF government in an apparent move to appease a vocal section of the Hindu population had changed the earlier LDF government's stand and told the SC that they were ready to uphold the temple's tradition.
This makes the legal battle tougher for the Travancore Devaswom Board. Soon after coming to power, Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran had said that the government was in favour of the entry of women to Sabarimala.
Meanwhile, standing firm on its opposition to the entry of women of menstruating age to the temple, the devaswom authorities argued that the matter cannot be left unresolved, based on the varied stances of the changing state governments.
The Supreme Court said that ban on a section of the community cannot be justified and held that temples were public places and not private properties.
The next hearing in the case has been scheduled for February 20, 2017. The apex court will also consider the plea of the devaswom board for a constitutional bench to look into the case.