Observe self-restraint, jurist tells women

Kemal Pasha urges women Ayyappa devotees to consider their safety

October 03, 2018 07:03 pm | Updated October 04, 2018 07:20 am IST - KOCHI

Kemal Pasha

Kemal Pasha

Notwithstanding the recent apex court verdict lifting the ban on the entry of women into the Sabarimala temple, it may be advisable for women devotees to observe self-imposed restriction considering their safety, former Kerala High Court Judge B. Kemal Pasha has said.

He was talking after recognising winners of the Thoolika award instituted jointly by the Public Relations Council of India and Ernakulam Press Club here on Wednesday.

Mr. Pasha said that despite the court verdict, the longstanding religious practice at Sabarimala was unlikely to be overturned if the majority of women faithful stuck to the established religious belief.

“If a voting was to be conducted among the women devotees, only two per cent of them may be willing to go to Sabarimala while the remaining 98% may opt out on the ground that they wish to worship Lord Ayyappa as per the prevailing belief,” he said.

Though the pilgrims to Sabarimala followed a rigorous spiritual regime of abstention while undertaking the pilgrimage, the fact remains that they were men.

The government will have to make exhaustive safety arrangements to facilitate the pilgrimage of women devotees and that would involve considerable cost. Enough space was also not available for accommodating the increased flow of pilgrims. More forest land would have to be allocated for the purpose, which may not be an easy decision even for the Centre to take, considering the ecological aspects involved.

Mr. Pasha felt that the issue was not a socially relevant one befitting the priceless time of judiciary, not to mention the expenses involved in the legal process. It was for the people to decide whether such issues should be taken before the courts at the expense of public funds.

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