The National Ayyappa Devotees (Women’s) Association has filed a review petition against the landmark judgement of the Supreme Court allowing women of all ages into the famous Sabarimala shrine in Kerala's Pathanamthitta district, on Monday. According to Live Law, the petitioners said that the judgement sent “shock waves among millions of Ayyappa devotees”.
They said that the petitioners in the original case were not devotees of Lord Ayyappa, thus there was no ‘cause of action’ to invoke the jurisdiction of the court. In addition to challenging the judgment based on jurisdictional aspect, the petition also claims the violation of the petitioners’ “fundamental right, namely, liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship, embodied in the preamble to the Constitution; so too Article 25 thereof”.
The petitioners also quoted Advocate Mathews J Nedumpara, who said that “a judgment of the instant nature is a gross abuse of a procedure named “Public Interest Litigation” (PIL), which was evolved in the early 1980s to render justice to the poor, the illiterate and ignorant who on account of their poverty, illiteracy and other disadvantages, are unable to invoke the jurisdiction of this Hon’ble Court under Article 32 and of the High Courts under Article 32 and of the High Courts under Article 226 of the Constitution”.
They further demanded the review petition be considered as an appeal and allow re-appreciation of facts, evidence and law. The petitioners also reiterated that as devotees of Lord Ayyappa, they were not heard during the hearing of the case and must be heard on all issues of fact and law.
Meanwhile, Hindu organisation People for Dharma, the Thazhamon Thantri Family (from where the head priests of the temple are selected), Nair Service Society (the community organisation of Hindu Nair caste) and the Pandalam Royal Family, which used to manage the temple affairs, will also file a review petition by Monday evening.
“The review petitions will be filed by individuals. The Ayyappa devotee organisations are coordinating it. Both Thanthri and Pandalam Royal family, being the respondents in the original case, have decided to file petitions individually. Today is Ayyappan's birth star and 3 pm to 4 pm is an auspicious time; so the petitions will be filed then” Rahul Eswar, a member of the Thanrti family, told TNM.
The review petition is being filed midst protest in the state against the landmark judgement. In the past two days, the state witnessed protest marches across various districts such as Kottayam, Ernakulam, Alappuzha, Kannur, Thiruvananthapuram and Thrissur. BJP observed a hartal in Pathanamthitta district on Sunday.
The People for Dharma on the day the judgement came, on September 28, had said that they will file a review petition, while others have reached the same decision in the days that followed.
However, the government and the Travancore Devaswom Board, which controls the affairs of the temple, have made it clear that review petition will not be filed, citing that they are bound to execute the apex court order.
Though Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had called the representatives of the Thanthri family for a conciliation meeting on Monday, the family members said they will not attend the meeting.