<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>There was a surfeit of interventions before a Supreme Court (SC) Bench on Monday over the ban on women entering the Sabarimala temple. As many as 34 applications were filed. While some supported the entry of women, most were against it.Among those who wished to intervene included an octogenarian from Kerala (for), the grandson of a priest (against) and an NGO supporting women’s rights (against).The All Kerala Brahmin Federation, the apex body of all Brahmin associations and organisations of Kerala, submitted that this case was of particular significance as any changes to the rules would directly affect their right to vocation.”The Hon’ble Court should not interfere in personal matters pertaining to religious faith and practices. Any order allowing the petition would directly affect the practices, traditions and customs of the Hindu faith,” the Chetana Conscience of Women (CCW) argued.Advocate KV Muthu Kumar, CCW counsel, added that an equal number of women members respected the existing rules and were happy to adhere to them.Advocate VK Biju, representing Rahul Easwar, grandson of a priest, submitted that the spurt in interventions was because of Kerala’s dilly-dallying on the issue. Since 2006, the state has see-sawed on its opinion , depending on who is in power. In its latest affidavit, Kerala is sticking to its 2007 affidavit which supports women’s entry to the shrine.”We cannot rely on the state (Kerala),” Biju said. “Their affidavits contradict each other,” he argued.Eighty four-year-old S Parameswaran Nampoothiri, son of a renowned ayurvedic scholar, and late Madham Sreedharan Nampoothiri, a poet, asked “whether the Devaswom Board, being an instrumentality of the state, has the right to deny entry to women solely based on menstruation.” The author, who has written several books, including one on temples, said that denying entry to women was a serious violation of constitutionally guaranteed fundamental rights.When one of the intervenors tried to argue for the rights of God, Justice Dipak Misra said: “Do not intend to comment on this because it is not in our domain.””No doubt, apart from being omnipresent, God, He or She, is present everywhere in every atom… Won’t discuss this… There is a distinction between religion, spirituality, philosophy and ritualism,” Justice Misra said.After an almost hour-long hearing, the three-judge Bench, also comprising Justices R Bhanumati and Ashok Bhushan, reserved its judgment on transferring the case to a five-judge Constitution Bench.”Counsel for the parties shall file written submissions, questions which should fall under the constitutional framework…,” the court said.”If the practice (ban) is in line with the Constitution, we will allow it. Let us understand the Constitution and not try to understand the ways of God, we are too small for that,” Justice Misra added.The Sabarimala issue is an ongoing tussle between the Travancore Devaswom Board, which manages the hill-top shrine, and the Indian Young Lawyers Association (IYLA), which have challenged the denial of entry of women between 10-50 years of age from entering the temple.Last January, the Apex Court had questioned the ban, submitting that it went against the Constitution.


Slew of interventions on Sabarimala issue takes Supreme Court by storm