sabarimala: a fight between custom and constitution
arnab banerjee 13 Nov 2018

sabarimala: a fight between custom and constitution

the entire sabarimala case can be summed up as a battle between custom and constitution. in the case : indian young lawyers association vs. state of travancore devaswom board etc. the prayer that is put before honourable supreme court is :

  1. to direct the board to allow entry of women in to the temple of lord ayappa aged 10 to 55.
  2. to declare the rule 3b of hindu public place worship rule 1965 as unconstitutional.
  3. ensure safety of women pilgrim
  4. general guideline for inequality for religious practice in places of worship.

the main argument of petitioner (indian young lawyers association) is :

  1. the practice of banning entry of women is not found in any religion in pampa river basin. it is not the tenet of Hinduism and it is just a superstition.
  2. right to entry into the temple for darshan is fundamental right and ban of the entry is violation of fundamental right. article 26 does not have right to ban entry.
  3. the temple is public place so all the public should be welcome. any particular faction should not be restricted.
  4. founding fathers of constitution prohibits exclusionery practice.
  5. it is not essential part if religious practice. and article 26 protects only essential parts.

the arguments of respondents ( sabarimala temple ) are :

  1. there is no right affecting public at large is violated.
  2. the deities can be viewd after 41 day penance which is difficult for ladies on physical ground.
  3. the devaswom board is a statutory authority and it cannot ignore the fundamental right.
  4. article 25 gives freedom to practice religion subject to public order, morality etc.
  5. as per article 26 , ayappa devotees have every right to manage their religious affair.
  6. it is an essential part of religious practice.

upon hearing both sides, court frame the following issues :

  1. whether exclusionary practice amounts to discrimination ?
  2. whether practice of excluding women is essential religious practice ?
  3. whether ayappa temple is a religious denomination ?
  4. whether rule 3 of kerala hindu place of public worship permits ban of entry of women ?

lets see what may be the answered of these 4 questions.

kerala high court answeres the first two question in negative on the ground that ayappa in sabarimala is a celebate and presence of young women may hamper his celebasy and so this ban is reasonable.

the honourable supreme court also examines these two critical question in this way :

Q.whether ayappa temple is a religious denomination ?

A. no. as per travancore-cochin hindu religious institution act 1950 all temples under devaswom boards. this act has been amended several time. as per section 29A of the act the officers of devaswome should be appointed by kerala public service commission. thus devoswom boards are no longer a separate religious denomination and sabarimala is no exception here as its management is taken over by kerala govt. state funding to these temples is also another reason why it is not a separate religious denomination.

also sabarimala after take over by state has not own any property with perpetual succession. how could it be a separate religious denomination ? besides there is no separate administration of sabarimala. its administration is taken over by kerala govt.

Q. whether exclusionary practice is an essential religious practice of hindu religion ?

A. no. hindu religion does not discriminate between men and women and women are reverred in hindu religion. another reason is that mere sight of women cannot break one's celibacy. another reason is that a religious denomination cant ban entry of women in the temple but can ban in certain ritual.

my analysis is confined to this two questions. question no.3 and 4 are beyond the scope of this article. who said to the apex court that exclusionary practice is not essential part of hinduism ? hinduism always exclude shudras from all vedic work. hinduism excludes women from all other jobs. hinduism excludes kings from doing priest job, merchants from doing king's job etc. so exclusionary practice is the very basis of hinduism. anybody with the basic knowledge of vedic literature know that. how come exclusionary practice becomes no essential part of hinduism ?

those who have read manusmiriti, know well that lord manu told men to subdue women forever. women have no freedom according to manu. is not it exclusionary practice ? is not it an essential part of religion ? actually we hindus dont have a good lawyer to argue in supreme court. period.

next the loss of separate identity of sabarimala temple. this is the fate of all temple taken over by government forcefully. modi government has therefore the duty to give back the control of the temple to the temple. only this way we can save our heritage.

anyone wants to contact me can call me at this number : 7044220657

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