Kerala government on Friday filed an affidavit in Supreme Court stating that it is the government’s duty to protect the centuries old religious tradition of banning entry of women between the age of 10 and 50 into Sabarimala temple.
The government also withdrew the affidavit filed by CPI (M) government in 2007 supporting women’s entry to the hill shrine.
“The restriction on women between the age of 10 and 50 has been prevailing in Sabimala from time immemorial. This is in keeping with the unique `pratishta sangalp' or idol concept of the temple. The same is an essential and integral part of the right of practice of religion of a devotee and comes under the protective guarantee of the Constitution under Articles 25 and 26 which have been held to con tain guarantee for rituals, observances, ceremonies and modes of worship which are an integral part of religion,“ the affidavit filed by state chief secretary Jiji Thomson said as per The Times of India report.
The state government also asked the SC to dismiss the PIL filed by women seeking entry to the shrine.
This government’s decision comes after Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy statement last month that the government will not interfere in any religious affairs.
“Till now the state government has been involved only in the administration of Sabarimala. The government is not ready to involve in any other matters of the temple,” Chandy told Times of India on January 14.
“Even the involvement of the government in the administration of Sabarimala is being opposed by various quarters. Hence, the government has no intention to involve in any affairs of any religion,” he added.
On January 11, the apex court had questioned the ban on the entry of young women in Sabarimala Ayyappa temple. Court was hearing a PIL filed by the Young Lawyers' Association, seeking entry for all women in the hill shrine.
CPI(M) state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan had then said that the SC should take a final decision on the issue. Some Left leaders had welcomed SC observations.