Sabarimala explained: judgment of the Supreme Court, protest marches and controversy
There was a limitation on the entry of women in the 10-to 50-year age group at the Sabarimala Temple in Kerala. The officials of the Temple say that the presiding deity, Lord Ayyappa, is an abstinent, and women of menstrual age can not be allowed for “purity.”
On 28 September 2018, the Supreme Court started cracking down on women entering the temple and ruled that this custom is unconstitutional and illegal.
On Thursday, the court will decide on a bunch of petitions seeking an evaluation of its order.
Where is Sabarimala
The hill shrine is nestled in the Western Ghats of the Pathanamthitta district of Kerala. Situated about 3,000 feet above sea level, the temple of Sabarimala is located about 175 km north of the state capital of Thiruvananthapuram.
Devotees from all over the world thronged the temple every year during the festival season between November and January. The journey to the temple is difficult because the vehicles can only go up to the base camp of Pamba. Devotees have to walk 5 km through the forest.
After Mecca, Sabarimala is termed to be the second-largest seasonal pilgrim center in the world. The Custodian of the Temple, Travancore Devasom Board, says about 3-4 crore pilgrims visit the temple during the season.
During the search, the King of Pandalam reportedly found an abandoned child in the forest and took him to the palace. He was growing up in court as his brother. It is claimed that Lord Ayyappa was the son of Hari (Vishnu) who took the form of Mohini and Hara (Lord Siva). He is believed to have meditated in Sabarimala after killing the mighty demon Mahishi. Later, in his memory, a temple was built by the King of Pandalam.
How is Sabarimala different
While women of a certain age group have been excluded, adherents of other religions are welcome. Lord Ayyappa’s favorite disciple, Vavar Swami, was a Muslim, and the devotees had to deliver their prayers in his mosque before moving to the hilltop.
The popular singer K J Yesudas is a devoted devotee and a regular visitor. Once a devotee gives a beard and wears a black cloth, he is known as ‘ Swami ‘ and not by his name.
1990: Prohibition on women in Sabarimala was first challenged in the High Court of Kerala, which is 1991 ruled that restriction was part of an age-old tradition. Restricted restrictions on women between 10 and 50 years of age.
2006: The Indian Young Lawyers ‘ Association brought a PIL to the Supreme Court challenging the practice of the temple that it was discriminatory and against gender justice.
2008: The matter was referred to as a three-judgment bench. The Congress-led state government supported the status quo.
2016: After eight years, the case came to the court.
2017: A constitution bench was set up to hear the appeal. The state government of the CPI(M) supported the entry of women
2018: The Supreme Court’s five- magistrate constitution allowed women of all ages to enter the temple.
2019: The SC shall take up the 60th petition for review