With Devaswom Board's plea to SC, all eyes turn to Delhitext_fields
Kochi: With the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) set to file a petition in Supreme Court on Monday seeking more time to implement the court's order on women's entry to Sabarimala, all eyes are now turning to Delhi and the apex court.
If considered favourably by the court, the petition may offer temporary reprieve for TDB and the government, when the latter is caught between the obligation to facilitate entry for women pilgrims who turn up for darshana on the one side, and the stiff resistance by forces opposing entry of wome between the ages 10 and 50.
In any case, any leniency by the court on the strict enforcement of its order may help defuse the tension prevailing in the pilgrimate zone of Sabarimala. As of now, the government has imposed strict restrictions on the pilgrims' movements which has reduced the chances for trouble, but at the same time, it has not enabled any woman within 10-50 age group to perform the rites of pilgrimate so far.
Further, the severe restrictions have drawn flak from various quarters, including from Kerala High Court on Monday morning. The court questioned which authority banned pilgrims' entry to sannidhan and devotees sitting there and asked state's advocate general to clarify them in the afternoon.
It however, remains to be seen whether the Supreme Court will consider the prayer in the TDB petition which if granted will ultimately amount t to a stay of its order of 28 September. That however was already expressly declined by the court, when it posted the petitions against the judgement for hearing on 22 January.
The plea by TDB is said to contain references to its inability to put in place necessary infrastructure for entry of women, especially in the backdrop of damage of flood. However, the Board had not made such a plea immediately in the wake of the flood and had it been the case, it would have carried more conviction, feel some legal circles.
However, any question related to maintenance of law and order for the smooth conduct of pilgrimage will impinge on the government, rather than TDB, whereas the government is not the party moving the court. It remains to be seen what the Supreme Court will decide about the plea.