Sabarimala verdict: Devaswom Board accepts SC ruling, says “We are neither happy nor disappointed”
New Delhi, Sep 28: The Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB), which runs the Sabarimala Temple, on Friday accepted the Supreme Court's verdict to allow women of all ages into the Lord Ayyappa's shrine and said it will not file a review petition.
The Supreme Court today lifted the ban on the entry of women into the Sabarimala Temple in the age group of 10 and 50. The Supreme Court has said that devotion cannot be subjected to gender discrimination. The court also said that a patriachal notion cannot be allowed to trump equality in devotion.
"We have no choice but to accept this verdict. We will make the necessary arrangements at the shrine to implement this order. We are not happy or disappointed with this verdict of the SC," said Travancore Devaswom Board, as per reports.
TDB said it was happy that all controversies related to Sabarimala are settled now with the SC ruling. But, the tone of the TDB's staement did not really reflect that it was truly happy with the verdict as it said, "Since women who believe in Lord Ayyappa will be coming, we have no choice but to welcome them.".
Clearly, if it was not apex court's ruling, then it doesn't look like the TDB would have agreed to allow women of all ages.
"Disappointed but will accept Supreme Court verdict," Sabarimala head priest Kandararu Rajeevaru said.
Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and Justice A M Khanwilkar said that religion is a way of life basically to link life with diversity. They also said that devotees of Ayappa do not constitute a separate denomination.
It is a 4:1 verdict and Justice Indu Malhotra has penned a dissenting opinion. Justice R Nariman and D Chandrachud have concurred with the findings of the CJI and Justice Khanwilkar.
The CJI said that women cannot be treated as lesser or weak. He said that in this country women as worshipped like Goddesses. Any physiological or biological factor cannot be given legitimacy if they don't pass the muster of credibility, the CJI further observed. Exclusion on the grounds of biological, physiological features like menstruation is unconstitutional and discriminatory, the Bench also said.