New Delhi: National Ayyappa Devotee Association filed a review petition in the Supreme Court on Monday challenging the top court’s earlier order that allowed entry of all women, irrespective of age, in the Sabarimala Temple in Kerala. The top court, in its September 28 verdict, had thrown open the temple doors for women aged 10 to 50 who, as per ‘traditions’, were not allowed to visit the revered temple.
Meanwhile, M Padmakumar, president of the Travancore Devasom Board (TDB) – which is the custodian of the temple, met Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan at Cliff House, the official residence of the chief minister. Following the verdict, the state government had clarified that it would not file any review petition challenging the SC order. Later, the Devasom Board also announced its decision to not file challenge the top court’s order in the matter.
The petitioner, the president of the National Ayyappa Devotees Association, said that the top court verdict could not be a match for the “voice of the people.” The petitioner, Shyala Vijayan said that the SC judgement affected the fundamental rights of millions of devotees of Lord Ayyappa, who is the temple’s chief deity. The petition read, “The petitioners believe that no legal luminary, not even the greatest of jurists or a judge, can be a match to the common sense and wisdom of the masses. No judicial pronouncement, even of the highest judicial tribunal in this country… can be a match for ‘the voice of the people.”
The petitioner added that those who had approached the top court seeking the removal of the prohibition that prevented women of a certain age from visiting the temple were “not the devotees of Lord Ayyappa.”
Meanwhile, representatives of the Sabarimala temple’s chief priest or ‘tantri’ have refused to attend a key meeting called by the CM Vijayan today to discuss the September 28 verdict, in the wake of the escalating protests by Ayyappa devotees across the state against the verdict. Hundreds of Ayyappa devotees took to the streets in the last few days across several cities, including New Delhi and Kochi, demanding that the “age-old traditions and rituals” of the temple must be “preserved and protected.”