Sabarimal case: SC to hear fresh petitions

The Supreme Court bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices S. K. Kaul and K. M. Joseph adjourned the hearing on the fresh four petitions regarding the entry of menstruating women between the ages of 10 and 50 years to the Sabarimala Temple.

The review petitions, by inter alia the Nair Service Society and the National Ayyappa Devotee(Women) Association, rely heavily on the dissenting judgment of Justice Indu Malhotra to contend that constitutional parameters of rationality cannot be  blindly applied to matters of faith.

The review petitions also state that the Court erred in entertaining the PIL without examining the locus standi of the petitioner. It is contended that no woman devotee of Lord Ayyappa would want to visit Sabarimala temple, and hence the Court erred in adjudicating the issue on petition filed by a party who is totally alien to the temple customs.

Further, it is pointed out that Court wrongly concluded that the basis of prohibition was physiological nature of women. According to the review petitioners, the practice was rooted in the “naishtika brahmachari” character of deity, as per which the deity cannot be in the presence of women. The practice is therefore not derogatory to the dignity of women, it is argued.

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