Approach SC on Sabarimala issue: HC to petitioner

The Kerala High Court on Thursday dismissed a Public Interest Litigation seeking barring of entry of women in the menstrual age group into the Lord Ayappa shrine at Sabarimala till additional facilities were set up for them, and said the petitioner can approach the Supreme Court.

Rejecting the plea, a bench comprising Chief Justice Hrishikesh Roy and A K Jayasankaran Nambiar observed that all constitutional institutions are bound to abide by the directions of the apex court.

On September 28, a five-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court, headed by then chief justice Dipak Misra, had lifted the centuries-old ban on the entry of women of menstrual age into the temple.

The high court said the petitioner P D Joseph can approach the Supreme Court over the matter.

After the ban was lifted, the shrine, which was opened for the monthly pooja on October 17, witnessed protests by a section of devotees, who prevented at least a dozen women in the 10-50 age group from entering the temple.

Though the government had considered deploying women police personnel, the plan was dropped following the protests.

The entry of menstruating women had been restricted in the hillock shrine as, according to tradition, the principal deity Lord Ayyappa is considered to be the ‘Naishtika Brahmachari’ or the perennial celibate.

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