Sabarimala temple entry: Supreme Court mentions Kerala’s flip-flops

The State has declared its support for allowing women into the temple.   | Photo Credit: Thulasi Kakkat

The Kerala government’s various flip-flops in the Supreme Court since 2007, in support and against the ban on allowing women to enter the Sabarimala temple, were mentioned by the court on Wednesday.

The reference came after senior advocate Jaideep Gupta, appearing for Kerala, declared the State’s support for allowing women to enter the temple. “Are you changing your stand again? This is the fourth time you have done so,” Chief Justice Dipak Misra told Mr. Gupta, before turning to the other members of the Bench for a brief conference.

Mr. Gupta said the State had not changed its stand ever since he took over the government brief in the case. “We are supporting the entry of women,” he repeated emphatically. “So, you are changing with the times…,” Justice Rohinton Nariman responded.

In February 2016, when the UDF was in power, Kerala had argued that the prohibition was ingrained in the minds of devotees for centuries. In November 2016, after the LDF returned to power, the government changed its stand in favour of throwing open the gates of the temple to women of all ages.

In February 2016, the State government had declared that the restriction was in place since “time immemorial” and was a part of the “unique idol concept of the temple”.

The February 2016 stand of the State directly contradicted its November 2007 position. In 2007, the then LDF government had filed an affidavit saying “it is not fair to deny a section of women from entering Sabarimala temple and making worship”. That affidavit had questioned the rituals, customs and observances followed in the temple.

In November 2016, Mr. Gupta had told the Supreme Court that the State was returning to its November 2007 stand to allow women entry.

On Wednesday, Mr. Gupta reiterated the position taken in November 2016.

“The only benefit from this is we don’t now have to hear Mr. Gupta’s arguments,” Chief Justice Misra said light-heartedly.

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Printable version | May 8, 2021 8:20:21 AM |

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