With the institution of a 5 Judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court to address certain issues seeking a guided interpretation of Constitutional provisions with reference to certain other legislations, the issue involving the protection of religious customs and practices under Article 25 of the Indian Constitution was addressed on 25th July 2018. The counsel appearing for the Nair Service Society, former Attorney General and senior advocate K Parasaran ,argued that the ‘celibate nature of the deity’ i.e. Lord Ayyappa was the only point for consideration that needed to be preserved.
It was further advanced by Mr. K. Parasaran that “Those coming to the Sabarimala temple should not come in the company of young women. Children, mother, sisters are exceptions. The reason is that those coming to the temple must not follow the ‘brahmcharya’ (celibacy) but also they must appear to follow it.” Reliance was placed on Article 25(2) by stating the said Article is only applicable to social reforms and not to religious matters which are protected under Article 26(b) of the Constitution.
When questioned by the Bench regarding the consequence of the State implementing a law to bring social reforms and allow entry of women inside the temple, the senior lawyer argued that “the unique nature of the deity has to be kept in mind while dealing with the constitutional validity of the age old practise.”
While further arguing upon the potential issue of ‘patriarchy’ involved in the present issue, the Senior Advocate proceeded by stating that Kerala, being a highly educated society having a very high number of literacy, has a population of 96% of women being educated. Thus the practice of the Sabarimala Temple being based on patriarchy would be totally incorrect.
Mr. K. Parashar concluded that the abolishing of the practice of the Sabarimala Temple would alter the very basic “fabric and unique character of the religious institution” which would affect the rights of devotees under Article 25(1) i.e. Freedom of religion. The hearing has been posted for addressing of the plea of the Petitioners i.e. Indian Young Lawyers Association and others.
Image Link: https://bit.ly/2Llcrah
News Link: https://bit.ly/2OjKJZ9