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SC Sabarimala hearing: "Untouchability has nothing to do with custom"

The verdict had set off massive street protests in Kerala. The annual pilgrimage season saw violent protests as devotees of Lord Ayyappa, the celibate god, tried to stop women and girls between the ages of 10 and 50 years from entering the temple shrine.

Saima Siddiqui

Saima SiddiquiBy Saima Siddiqui

Published on 6 Feb 2019 7:41 AM GMT

SC Sabarimala hearing: Untouchability has nothing to do with custom
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Sabarimala Temple
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New Delhi: A five-judge constitutional bench led by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, on Wednesday, will review a batch of 65 petitions challenging its September verdict, allowing the women of menstruating age to enter Sabarimala Temple, Kerala. Among 65 petitions, 56 are review petitions and 4 fresh writ petitions.

The Sabarimala case was earlier scheduled for January 22, but had to be postponed as Justice Indu Malhotra, one of the judges on the panel, was on medical leave.

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Justice Malhotra, the only woman judge on the bench, had dissented with the verdict in September, saying courts must not interfere with issues concerning "deep religious sentiments."

The verdict had set off massive street protests in Kerala. The annual pilgrimage season saw violent protests as devotees of Lord Ayyappa, the celibate god, tried to stop women and girls between the ages of 10 and 50 years from entering the temple shrine.

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One of the two women who eventually managed to enter the temple in January, was even attacked allegedly by her mother-in-law.

The issue has also triggered a political slugfest between Kerala's CPM and the opposition parties, including the BJP and the Congress.

Here are the Highlights of Today's hearing on the Sabarimala temple verdict:

-"Only community can decide the custom, not court," Supreme Court.

-Religion is a matter of faith.

-As long as the community decides not to change the practice SC can't intervene

-The Supreme Court, in its September judgement, had said the practice is akin to untouchability.

-Untouchability will not be applicable here because it is not a caste or religion based exclusion. There is no exclusion of men and women, only exclusion for a class of women," Mr Singhvi argued.

-Lord Ayyappa has special character - Celibate (The character of the Deity has to be protected).

-Devotees go to Sabrimala can't question the customs and have to accept it

-None of the petitioners who moved Supreme Court didn't say they are devotees

-"Sabrimala custom cannot be equated to untouchability It is only a religious custom," K. Parasaran argues.

-The Supreme Court is hearing 65 petitions including 56 review petitions and 4 fresh writ petitions.

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Saima Siddiqui

Saima Siddiqui

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