The Congress and BJP said the Kerala government should not let women enter Sabarimala temple before the review petition hearings.

Stop being stubborn over Sabarimala wait for open court Cong BJP to Kerala govt
news Sabarimala Wednesday, November 14, 2018 - 11:25

The Supreme Court’s decision to hear the 49 review petitions against the Sabarimala verdict in open court on January 22 has presented the Kerala government with two difficult choices. The first choice would be to not follow the verdict passed on September 28, when the apex court lifted the ban on women between ages 10-50 entering the temple. The second choice would be to carry forward the earlier verdict and allow women to enter Sabarimala during the Mandala season, when the temple would be open for three months starting from December.

The Congress and BJP in Kerala have, however, made it clear that the government should not let women enter the temple before the review petition hearings. Speaking to media persons in Pamba, State Congress chief Ramesh Chennithala said that the government should stop being stubborn.

“Even if there is no stay, the government should stop being stubborn and bringing women to Sabarimala. The constitutional bench has said they will hear the review petitions. This is good news. No political party but the Congress filed a review petition through Prayar Gopalakrishnan (president of Travancore Devaswom Board). All BJP did was create chaos. In the upcoming season, there should be no conflict situation and we hope the government will take a decision accordingly. Even if there is no stay, the fact that they have decided to review judgement is important,” he said.  

Kerala BJP chief PS Sreedharan Pillai, too, stated that the government should temporarily halt attempting to implement the earlier verdict.

“The state government is getting the power to discriminate here. Since the Supreme Court agreeing to hear the review petitions in open court, it is equivalent to a re-examination of the verdict. Recently, the government said that they will protect the beliefs of all the devotees. Majority of Kerala devotees wish that the traditions followed in Sabarimala are protected and this is as clear as daylight. So why does (the government) need to be stubborn? Let’s just wait for the final verdict,” he said.

Sreedharan Pillai added that the government, instead of waiting for the final verdict, said it will carry out the earlier verdict. “The government’s stance here is wrong. They are just trying to raise a challenge. They are trying to create conflict. Their stance is surely wrong. They should re-examine, relinquish the path of conflict and wait until for the final judgement,” he said

He added, “During these issues, the government had convened an expert committee to look into religious affairs but they did not seek their advice on the issue (Sabarimala). When the writ petitions came in on Tuesday, the government did not even put in a word on how sensitive the issue has become in Kerala. These atheists are using Sabarimala as a target to fuel their attempts to destroy the faith of the people of Kerala.”

On Tuesday, the review petitions were heard by a five-judge bench of the SC in a closed hearing in the chambers of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi at 3 pm. The bench comprised CJI Ranjan Gogoi, Justices Rohinton Nariman, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra. "All the Review Petitions along with all pending applications will be heard in Open Court on 22nd January 2019 before the appropriate Bench. We make it clear that there is no stay of the judgment and order of this Court dated 28th September 2018 passed in Writ Petition (Civil) No.373 of 2006 (Indian Young Lawyers Association & Ors. vs. The State of Kerala & Ors.)," the court in its order said.

(With inputs from Sharanya Gopinathan)

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