The National Ayyappa Devotees Association and the Nair Service Society on Monday filed review petitions in the Supreme Court against its September 28 order allowing the entry of women of all ages into the temple, ManoramaOnline reported. The Nair Service Society is a body of Kerala’s influential Nair community.
Previously, women between the ages of 10 and 50 were banned from entering the shrine.
Shylaja Vijayan, the president of the National Ayyappa Devotees Association, said in her petition that those who had approached the Supreme Court for lifting the age restriction on women are not Ayyappa devotees, NDTV reported. She claimed that the Supreme Court judgement affects the fundamental rights of millions of devotees.
“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,” she said. “No judicial pronouncement, even of the highest judicial tribunal in this country...can be a match for ‘the voice of the people’.”
The Left Democratic Front government has decided to implement the judgement immediately. However, it has faced opposition from the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress. The Communist Party of India (Marxist) has accused the Congress and the BJP of playing divisive politics and said the two parties were trying to inflame communal passions.
On Sunday, the representatives of the temple’s chief priests refused to participate in talks held by the Kerala government. “Let us hear the final decision of the state government with regards to the filing of a review petition against the apex court’s verdict,” Sabarimala priest Kantararu Mohanaru had said.
On Monday, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said he was ready to hold discussions, but insisted that the top court judgement will have to be implemented, ANI reported. “Filing a review petition is against the stand [of the top court],” he said. “It is the responsibility of the government to implement the verdict of the Supreme Court. It is not the policy of the government to fight with believers. Their interest will be protected. Government is ready for discussion.”
Vijayan also accused the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh of trying to create law and order problems. “RSS is trying to create a law and order situation in the state taking advantage of this verdict,” he claimed. “The government is bound to implement it.”