The Supreme Court Wednesday asked the Kerala government to come out with an exclusive legislation regarding the administration of the historic Sabarimala temple.
A bench headed by Justice N V Ramana asked the state government to come up with the legislation by third week of January next year, which should also include the aspects of welfare of pilgrims visiting the holy shrine.
The counsel appearing for the state said it has formulated amendments to the law that would deal with the temples and their administrations which are presently being governed by the Travancore Devaswom Board.
The draft law also proposes to give one-third representation to women in the temple advisory committee, the counsel said.
This aspect triggered a debate in the courtroom with regard to September 2018 apex court verdict allowing entry of girls and women of all ages into the Sabarimala temple.
The state government said that for the time being, it proposes to give representation in the temple advisory committee to only those women who are above 50 years of age.
One of the judges of the bench referred to the September 28, 2018 verdict and observed that the direction allowing girls and women of all ages holds the field.
The top court was hearing a plea filed in 2011 which has raised the issue of administration of Sabarimala temple.
In August this year, the state government had told the top court that it was considering enacting a “separate legislation” with regard to administration of the Sabarimala temple.
The Supreme Court on Thursday did not stay its September 28, 2018 order allowing entry of women of all age groups into the Sabarimala temple. The apex court, however, referred to a larger bench, the review petitions against the verdict allowing entry of women into Kerala’s Lord Ayappa Temple.
The top court bench, by a majority of 3:2, referred the review petitions to a larger 7-judge Constitution bench. Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman and Justice DY Chandrachud gave a dissenting judgement. The said bench was headed by the then Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi.
The temple, dedicated to Lord Ayyappa is the most famous and prominent among all the Sastha temples in Kerala, is situated on a hilltop about 4000 feet above sea level in Sabarimala. According to tradition and custom of the temple, women in the age group of 10 to 50 are not allowed to enter the temple.