SC asks Kerala govt to come out with exclusive law for administration of Sabarimala temple

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court Wednesday asked the Kerala government to come out with an exclusive legislation regarding the administration of the historic Sabarimala temple. A bench headed by Justice N V Ramana asked the state to place before it by third week of January next year the legislation, also covering the aspects of welfare of pilgrims visiting there.

The counsel appearing for the state said it has formulated amendments to the law that would deal with the temples and their administrations which are presently being governed by the Travancore Devaswom Board.

The draft law also proposes to give one-third representation to women in the temple advisory committee, the counsel said. This aspect triggered a debate in the courtroom with regard to September 2018 apex court verdict allowing entry of girls and women of all ages into the Sabarimala temple. The state government said that for the time being, it proposes to give representation in the temple advisory committee to only those women who are above 50 years of age.

One of the judges of the bench referred to the September 28, 2018 verdict and observed that the direction allowing girls and women of all ages holds the field. The top court was hearing a plea filed in 2011 which has raised the issue of administration of Sabarimala temple. In August this year, the state government had told the top court that it was considering enacting a “separate legislation” with regard to administration of the Sabarimala temple.

A 5-judge Constitution bench, headed by the then Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, in a 3:2 majority verdict, had referred to a larger 7-judge bench the pleas seeking review of its historic 2018 judgement allowing women and girls of all ages to enter Kerala’s Sabarimala temple, along with other contentious issues of alleged discrimination against Muslim and Parsi women. The top court had not stayed the 2018 verdict that had allowed entry of girls and women of all ages into Sabarimala temple. PTI