Letters

Judicial activism needed?

The Supreme Court, as a guardian of the Constitution, has decided to hear the public interest litigation (PIL) about the constitutionality of provisions at the Sabarimala temple that bar entry to women of a certain age group (“Reform, only left to the judiciary,” Jan.18). Freedom of religion is not restricted to the Travancore Devaswom Board or temple managements but extends to millions of devotees who can profess their religion according to their conscience. Finally, there is no question of judicial overreach or “judiciopapism” as claimed by the author here. It is a duty of the apex court to uphold fundamental rights of Indian citizens.

Makesh S.,

Tirunelveli

Our country is known for the spirit of unity in diversity. The judiciary has a right to intervene when laws and tradition are in conflict with the constitutional rights. However, a decision taken by the Supreme Court is unlikely to satisfy all. I suggest further debate at a national level which includes people from all religious persuasions, including atheists and rationalists, before taking a call on such issues. Finally, no religion should discriminate on the grounds of gender.

Vinayak Pawar,

Pune

The welcome sign that greets one on reaching the 18th holy step to Lord Ayyappa’s shrine is “Tat twam asi”, which translates to “you are that”. It implies that the individual self is identifiable with the ultimate reality, the divine. Humans, in a childish manner, give importance to subjective ideas based on gender. If the lord resides in each human being, there should be no question of discrimination. Customs and tradition, evolved over centuries, need to be amended after introspection, to keep pace with the changing times.

D. Parasuram,

Thrissur

The article asserts that the more the state takes over the task of reform, the less likely is change to emerge from within the society. Events in the past two centuries and more have amply demonstrated that without judicial or state intervention, discriminatory practices — like Sati, discrimination against Dalits when it comes to entry to temples and the devadasi system — would have continued. Most of the laws aimed at reform were passed amid strong opposition. If the Supreme Court removes the ban on women entering the Sabarimala temple, it should be welcomed. There are very few instances where the society and religious leaders have permitted any social change.

S. Suryanarayanan,

Chennai

While the restrictions put in place by the Travancore Devaswom Board on entry to women at the Sabarimala temple are contentious, the debate raised by the writer is significant in its own right. We, the public, generally extol judicial intervention in policy matters on the grounds of progressiveness. The argument that judiciary must step in where the legislature and executive fail to do their bit needs to be reassessed and debated. In this context, the recent apprehension shown by the Bombay High Court concerning the entry of women in the Haji Ali Dargah is justified.

Himanshu Pathak,

Mumbai

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Printable version | Mar 6, 2021 11:35:54 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/letters/Judicial-activism-needed/article14005272.ece

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