Kerala Brahmana Sabha moves SC for Sabrimala verdict review

New Delhi: The All-Kerala Brahmins Association has approached the Supreme Court seeking review of the verdict that allowed entry of women of all ages into Sabarimala Temple. The association is also known as Kerala Brahmana Sabha.

The petition said that the judgement of the Constitution bench passed on September 28, suffers from several errors that have resulted in a “grave miscarriage of justice” in so far as the actual devotees of Lord Ayyappa are concerned.

The petition, filed through advocate Sanand Ramakrishnan, stated that overwhelmingly large section of women worshippers including the review petitioners are supporting the custom of prohibiting the entry of women between the age group of 10 and 50 years at the temple.

The association stated in the review petition that the court ought not to have taken a broad-brush approach in a matter which impacts millions of devotees of Lord Ayyappa.

“In applying the broad-brush approach, the court has completely ignored the diverse practices, traditions and schools which exist within the Hindu faith,” read the review plea.

The petition in which the judgement had come was filed on the basis of news article which lacked historical basis and displayed a poor understanding of the temple practices in so far as it sought to link the restriction on entry of women belonging to a certain age group with the issue of gender discrimination, stated the review plea.

“The discrimination allegedly practiced by the Sabarimala Temple is unrelated to any common sense meaning of the term, as women can always worship Swami Ayyappa in their homes or in hundreds of other temples across India. To claim one wants to worship Swami Ayyappa and not have respect for what he stands for is the worst form of hypocrisy. More so, when Hinduism does not restrict your choices of god in any manner, whatsoever,” it added.

The review petition further stated: “The practice of not permitting females between the age group of 10 to 50 is held to be exclusionary without any discussion, especially in the milieu of the argument to the contrary advanced. It is respectfully submitted that it is merely a restriction and not a ban.

The reason for the restriction lies in the form of the deity which is that of a permanent celibate. Thus, the restriction of worship tantamounting to a total of 40 years of the life of a female does not amount to exclusion from worship. As such, the restriction based on age of a female is not a restriction which amounts to discrimination on the ground only of ‘sex’.

In other words, the restriction is not solely based on the ground of gender but is more importantly based on the form of the Lord manifested in the Idol, which is that of a ‘Naishtika Brahmachari’.”

On September 28, the Constitution bench of the apex court had allowed entry of women between 10 and 50 (in their reproductive phase) years of age to enter into the temple. Before the judgement, women aged 10 to 50 years of age were not allowed to visit the temple as per ‘traditions’.

The court had held that not allowing women of all age to enter into the temple was “irrational and arbitrary”. Many review petitions have been filed against the Sabrimala judgement.