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18 Feb 2019, Edition - 1315, Monday

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Sabarimala: In U-turn, Travancore Devaswom Board says women can enter shrine


The board that manages Kerala’s Sabarimala temple says it is no longer against admitting women of all ages, and has informed the Supreme Court of the change in its position.

The top court is hearing hearing pleas seeking a review of its landmark decision to remove the temple’s ban on women aged between 10 and 50, which was met with widespread protests in Kerala. Only two women from that age group have been able to pray at the Lord Ayyappa shrine since the court delivered its judgement in September.

The court has reserved its judgment on the review pleas.

The Travancore Devaswom Board told the Supreme Court on Wednesday that it had changed its stand on the ban.

Senior advocate Rakesh Dwivedi, who appeared for the board, spoke of a need to transform jurisprudence and society, and said equality was a basic right.

Rakesh Dwivedi said there was no scriptural prohibition on the entry of women, and that the essential practice of Hinduism was to allow women to enter temples.

Earlier, the Kerala-based Nair Service Society (which wants the entry ban restored at Sabarimala) told the Supreme Court the exclusion of women at the shrine couldn’t be compared with untouchability.

K Parasaran, the senior lawyer representing the group, said the exclusion was limited to a particular age group and based on the deity’s character.

Lord Ayyappa, the deity of the Sabarimala temple, is considered to be eternally celibate.

IN A NUTSHELL: The Travancore Devaswom Board, which previously supported the Sabarimala temple’s ban on women of a specific age group, has told the Supreme Court that it has changed its stand.

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