On Thursday, the Chief Justice of India, Dipak Misra said women wish to visit Sabarimala because they believe in the deity. This statement in turn countered the Travancore Devaswom Board’s strong opposition to remove the centuries-old prohibition on women in Sabarimala.
For the board, A.M. Singhvi, senior advocate said the nature of the deity in Sabarimala is that of ‘Naishtika Brahmachari’ (celibate), and should not be disturbed.
In 1991, a Kerala HC judgment backed the restriction stating that the restriction has been in place since time immemorial and not discriminatory to the Constitution.
Women are free to offer prayers to other Ayyappa temples unlike Sabarimala. In addition, he said, temples generally restrict menstruating women.
Chief Justice observed that there were many other Jagannath temples in country, yet devotees throng on the one in Puri.
The hearing happened because of the petitions challenging the prohibition on women aged 10 to 50 from entering Sabarimala. The petitioners claimed that the prohibition marks discrimination and untouchability.