New Delhi: Days after the Supreme Court allowed women of all ages inside Kerala’s Sabarimala Temple, the National Ayyappa Devotee Association on Monday filed a review petition challenging the verdict.
The plea, filed by Shylaja Vijayan, president of National Ayyappa Devotees Association, said the 28 September judgment which had allowed entry of women of all ages in the hill-top shrine is “absolutely untenable and irrational, if not perverse”.
A five-judge constitution bench headed by then Chief Justice Dipak Misra had in its 4:1 verdict, said that banning the entry of women into the shrine is gender discrimination and that the practice violates rights of Hindu women.
Meanwhile, the head priests of the temple have decided to skip the meeting called by Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijaya over the issue.
“We have moved a review petition in the Supreme Court against the earlier verdict. We will decide on the future course of action only after knowing the outcome of the review petition. Otherwise, the discussion with the government does not make any sense,’’ said Sabarimala thantri Kandararu Mohanaru.
He said the decision was taken after consulting the leadership of the Nair Service Society, a prominent outfit of the upper caste Nair community.
Meanwhile, RR Varma, representative of the erstwhile royal family of Pandalam, said the family wanted to protect the age-old traditions at the temple and was not interested in a discussion aimed at reaching a consensus on implementing the SC’s order.
The government’s call for talks came amidst the mounting protests by the devotees of Lord Ayyappa, demanding the retaining of the age-old tradition, rituals and faith of the hill shrine in various parts of the State.
Hundreds of Ayyappa devotees, especially women, Sunday took part in ‘namajapa’ (chanting the hymns of Lord Ayyppa) rallies at Tripunithura in Ernakulam and Tirunakkara in Kottayam districts, demanding the safeguarding of ‘sanatana dharma’, the tradition of Hinduism.
The CPI(M) is facing heat from the Congress and the BJP in the State over the government’s decision not to move a review petition on the Supreme Court’s verdict.