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'Not Even Greatest Judge Can Match Voice of People': Challenge to Supreme Court's Sabarimala Verdict

After the Kerala government made it clear that it won't make an appeal against the apex court order, protests over the entry of women in Sabarimala have gathered pace.

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Updated:October 8, 2018, 2:08 PM IST
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'Not Even Greatest Judge Can Match Voice of People': Challenge to Supreme Court's Sabarimala Verdict
File photo of a procession by devotees at the Lord Ayyappa temple in Kerala’s Sabarimala. (PTI)
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New Delhi: Days after a five-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court upheld the right of women of all ages to worship at the Sabarimala temple, a review petition is likely to be filed on Monday in the apex court saying that its September 28 judgment was "absolutely untenable and irrational, if not perverse".

Shylaja Vijayan, president of National Ayyappa Devotees Association, said those who had approached the Supreme Court for lifting the age restriction on women were not even devotees of Lord Ayyappa. In the petition, Vijayan states that Supreme Court verdict affects the fundamental rights of millions of devotees of Lord Ayyappa, the temple's chief deity.

"The petitioners believe that no legal luminary, not even the greatest of jurists or a judge, can be a match to the common sense and wisdom of the masses. No judicial pronouncement, even of the highest judicial tribunal in this country... can be a match for 'the voice of the people'," the petition reads.

After the Kerala government made it clear that it won't make an appeal against the apex court order, protests over the entry of women in Sabarimala have gathered pace in the state.

Meanwhile, the representatives of Pandalam Palace and Sabarimala temple priests refused to attend the meeting called by Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Monday to discuss the Supreme Court's verdict.

Devotees of Lord Ayyappa protested in Chennai on Sunday, demanding the retaining of the age-old tradition of the hill shrine. A rally 'Ayyappa Nama Japa Yatra' was also held on Sunday at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar by Lord Ayyappa devotees.

Protests had started last week with several demonstrations being held across several cities. In many of the protest marches, women too had taken part.

The row has also taken a political turn with both the Congress and BJP launching agitations against the verdict as well as the Vijayan government’s decision to implement it without seeking a review.

As the hill shrine will be opened for the monthly poojas on October 16 for the first time after the SC verdict, Kerala Police is gearing up to post more of its women personnel at the temple in anticipation of the influx of women devotees in the light of the verdict.

A devotee group has warned that hundreds of its members will lie down at the entrance of the temple to stop women of menstruating age from entering when it re-opens.

"Hundreds of our men will lie down at the entry point of the hill when the temple opens for the pooja, or prayer ceremony," said Rahul Easwar, chief of the Ayyappa Dharma Sena and the grandson of a former chief priest at Sabarimala.
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