New Delhi, February 6: The Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) on Wednesday made a massive U-Turn on its stand on the issue of the entry of women of all ages into the Sabarimala Temple in Kerala. During the hearing in the Supreme Court on review petitions filed against its verdict allowing the entry of women of all ages into the temple, the board changed its stand and said that it has decided to "respect the judgment" by the apex court. After hearing arguments by all parties, the apex court reserved its judgment on a few review petitions. Sabarimala Verdict: Hearing on Review Pleas Begins in Supreme Court, Petitioners Say 'Matters of Religion Must Not Be Decided by Law'.
"We have to transform the society and include women in all walks of life. We should not point out biological attributes to exclude women from any walks of life," said Senior Advocate Rakesh Dwivedi while arguing on behalf of the TDB. Sabarimala Temple Row: Kerala Government Takes U-Turn, Admits Only 2 Women of Menstrual Age Visited Lord Ayyappa Shrine.
The board concluded its argument by saying that "Equality runs through the Constitution" and pressed for all review petitions to be dismissed. The TDB had earlier opposed the Supreme Court verdict allowing the entry of women of all age groups and was also one of the petitioners who had sought a review of the judgment.
The Supreme Court began hearing into the review petitions filed against its verdict allowing the entry of women of all ages into the Sabarimala Temple in Kerala today. While arguing against the entry of women into the Ayyappa temple, the petitioners stated that matters of religion must not be decided by the court. Arguing for the petitioners, senior lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi said that internal community matters must be left to the community members to decide upon.
Singhvi also argued that the practice of not allowing women of menstrual age inside the temple was based on the 'brahmacharya' nature of the deity, Lord Ayyappa. After Singhvi, advocated Shekhar Naphade also stated that matters of religious practices and beliefs must not be dealt with by the law.
On the other hand, Senior Counsel Jaideep Gupta, arguing on behalf of the State of Kerala, said that "not taking arguments into consideration didn't make any grounds for review". Gupta also added that the practice of not allowing women was not a practice within the religion but "that of the temple".