Sabarimala: Lord Ayyappa a 'juristic person' with right to be celibate, lawyer tells SC

Login   |  Register Now

Follow us with

Sabarimala: Lord Ayyappa a 'juristic person' with right to be celibate, lawyer tells SC

Posted on : Friday 27th of July 2018

Total 1 News Image

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday said irrespective of the submissions that Lord Ayyappa of the Sabarimala temple has "celibate character", it cannot remain "oblivious" of the fact that the entry of women in the age group of 10-50 was barred on "physiological ground" of menstruation.

A five-judge Constitution bench headed by chief justice Dipak Misra, however, termed "impressive" the persuasive and vehement submissions of advocate Sai Deepak, appearing for People for Dharma and NGO Chetna that Lord Ayyapa being a "juristic person" has the right to preserve his "brahmacharya" (celibate) character under the Constitution.

"Your (lawyer) arguments are impressive, I must admit that," the CJI observed. "But, the court can't be oblivious of the fact of the case that a class of women is disallowed due to physiological reasons (menstruation)," the bench, which also comprised justices R F Nariman, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra, said.

The bench, which was hearing pleas of Indian Young Lawyers Association and others challenging the ban, asked whether the practice at Sabarimala of barring women of the age group of 10-50 years from entering the temple was an "essential and integral" practice of a religious denomination.

Justice Chandrachud intervened and said there was no need to even go into the "essentiality" test and "the core of issue is whether Constitution overrides all other aspects. If yes, then nobody can exclude a class of women from visiting temple".

"I go beyond the essentiality test. Essentiality aspect has taken charge of Article 25 (freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion) under the Constitution, but it should not be so. Because of the fact that something is essential to the religion it becomes inviolable," justice Chandrachud said.

Due to this essentiality doctrine, judges including the Supreme Court judges are now assuming a "theological mantle" which we are not expected to do, he said. "The test should be whether a practice subscribes to the Constitution irrespective of whether it is essential or not," Justice Chandrachud said.

At the outset, lawyer Deepak said Lord Ayyappa of the Sabarimala is a "juristic person" for the purposes of property ownership and taxes and hence, he equally has rights under Article 21 (protection of life and personal liberty), 25 (freedom to practice religion) and 26 (freedom to manage religious affair) of the Constitution.

The deity has the right to remain a 'Naishtika Brahmachari' (eternal celibate) and this was also part of the right to privacy of the deity, the lawyer said, adding that the will of the deity needed to be respected.

The women has been respecting the tradition for a long time now and and "This is not a case of temple versus women or men versus women". The public nature of the temple did not dilute the separate denominational right of the temple and devotees of Lord Ayyappa, he said.

"Who constitute separate religious denomination," the bench asked. The devotees of Lord Ayyappa, the lawyer replied.

During the day-long hearing, the bench asked whether Article 14 (equality before law) and 15(1) (prohibition of discrimination) would apply in the Sabarimala case as these fundamental rights are enforceable against the State and its instrumentalities. It further said that rule is part of State action.

The rule was not the state action and it was just a "codification" of customary religious practices and if the court decides to strike down the rules then it amounts to striking down the "custom itself", the lawyer said.

The issue of exclusion of women was not based on notion of purity and rather dependent on facts like celibate nature of the deity which has been preserved for years, he said. The court and others should not be "superimposing" their social views on the temple which has stated its position "loud and clear".

"Tomorrow somebody can say that he would like to offer chicken as 'prasadam'," he said, adding that can such an offer be entertained and the rules of religion and the God cannot be changed.

Individual rights have to be respected and simultaneously, the right and the nature of the deity were also required to be protected.

The bench then said that there was a need to strike a balance between the individual right with the rights of the religious institutions of a particular denomination. Radhhakrishnan said various kind of morality are in built in Article 25(1) of the Constitution. He said the word morality be prefixed with "public" i.e., public morality.

Senior advocate K Radhhakrishnan, appearing for the Pandalam royal family, referred to the concept of morality and said that the constitutional morality cannot override the private morality in cases of religious practices.

"The silent majority has been doing 41 days of 'penance' and they are not being heard in this court," he said, adding that the deity is celibate. Another senior advocate V Giri, appearing for head priest of the temple, also stressed the fact of uniqueness of the deity and said that the celibate character of the deity cannot be challenged by those who wished to pray.

"The belief of the devotee has to be in sync with the belief of the deity and it cannot be the case that you challenge the nature of the deity and want to pray also," he said. The advancing of the arguments of would continue on Friday.

Courtesy : Manorama

Disclaimer: The contents or any information provided here is strictly personal and does not hold any responsibility or liability on them. We shall endeavor to upload/publish as many of the comments that are submitted as possible within a reasonable span of time, but we do not guarantee that all comments that are submitted will be uploaded/published. Messages that harass, abuse or threaten other members; have obscene, unlawful, defamatory, libelous, hateful, or otherwise objectionable content; or have spam, commercial or advertising content or links are liable to be removed by the editors. We also reserve the right to edit the comments that do get published. Please do not post any private information unless you want it to be available publicly.

More Articles

‘Slaughterhouses rent increased by m..

KUWAIT CITY : Head of slaughterhouse and livestock market in Dhaher area Saad Albous revealed that the rents of slaug...

Hot weather continues during weekend..

KUWAIT CITY (KUNA): The country is still affected by the Indian seasonal pressure which supplies the region with very...

Jet Airways Flight Goes Off Runway ..

MUMBAI: Nearly 150 people on board a Mumbai-bound Jet Airways flight from Riyadh e...

"Ladakh No Longer Safe For Women": ..

LADAKH: Fourteen Buddhist nuns, who are specialized in Kung Fu, trained local girl...

MoH stops sending Kuwaiti patients to ..

KUWAIT CITY : The Ministry of Health has stopped sending Kuwaiti patients to Germany, reports Al-Rai daily quoting so...

PAM issues circular on work timings, a..

KUWAIT CITY : Public Authority for Manpower has issued a circular concerning work timings, attendance and absence fro...

Athirappilly tourist spot closed as..

Thrissur: With the incessant rain continuing to batter Kerala, rivers in Kerala ar...

80% of Kuwaitis believe use of ‘wast..

KUWAIT CITY : The International Monetary Fund (IMF) recently released a report on promoting growth and inclusiveness ...

Baby on board Indigo flight dies after..

New Delhi/Hyderabad: A four-month-old boy developed breathing problem on a Patna-bound flight and died at the Hyderab...

Several nurses aged 65 and above termi..

KUWAIT CITY : The Ministry of Health has laid down a comprehensive health services plan for pilgrims this year, repor...

Rising concern: Idukki water level tou..

Thiruvananthapuram: The water level in the Idukki reservoir in Kerala touched 2395.42 feet at 12 noon on Tuesday. Aft...

National Defence Academy Cadets To ..

PUNE: The National Defence Academy in Pune has included Kashmiri, Pashto and Dari ...


Copyright © 2012-2018, All rights Reserved   |  |  This Logo is a trademark of Way4Indians. For Enquires, please contact :