Sabarimala: plea seeks to maintain status quo until revision petition verdicttext_fields
Kochi: Two new petitions related to Sabarimala were filed on filed before the High Court on Tuesday, one seeking deferring women’s entry to the temple until the Supreme Court disposed the review petitions and the other challenging the new restriction on devotees’ stay at Sannidhanam.
Postponing of implementation of apex court’s verdict was sought in a petition filed by M Thankappa Menon of Panampil Nagar through advocate Kodoth Sridharan.
The petitioner demanded that status quo should be maintained until the Supreme Court decides on the status of Lord Ayyappa as a ‘naishtika Brahmachari’ as the Constitution bench did not decide on the issue in its original judgement.
The petitioner pointed out that a division bench of the High Court had in 1993 held that exclusion of women aged between 20 and 50 from offering worship at Sabarimala is in accordance with the usage prevalent from time immemorial.
The HC had also protected the rights of devotees as a fundamental right under Article 25 of the Constitution while considering the public interest litigation (Mahendran Vs State of Kerala).
The high court’s judgment has become final as it was not challenged before the apex court and it is binding on Lord Ayyappa the deity, who is a perpetual minor, whose interests the state government, Travancore Devaswom Board and the chief tantric are bound to protect, it is contended.
As the high court’s judgment has become final, the Supreme Court is barred from considering a fresh PIL as per the 2006 decision of a three-judge SC bench.
Such a view was affirmed by a three-judge SC bench and a two-judge bench again in 2011, the petitioner contends.
However, when another PIL regarding to the very same cause of action of curbs on women was filed before the apex court by way of a collateral attack to the to the 1993 HC ruling, a three-judge SC bench referred it to a Constitution bench, which resulted in the recent verdict, stated the petition.
Challenge against the new restriction banning devotees from spending more than 24 hours at Sannidhanam was filed by S Prasanth of Elamakkara through advocate P Sreekumar.
State government’s decision violates the fundamental rights of the petitioner and other Ayyappa devotees, it alleged.
The petitioner has taken a vow (vazhipadu) to have darshanam and thereafter remain at Sannidhanam for three days to meditate and chant prayers.
However, he will noe not be able to fulfill his vow, the petition said.