Mumbai: President of the Ayyappa Dharma Sena and activist Rahul Easwar, a prominent face of the campaign that challenged the entry of women between the ages of 10 and 50 at Kerala's renowned Sabarimala temple, has argued that the Supreme Court's verdict on Friday was not balanced and he will be appeal to a larger bench.
Rahul Easwar, the grandson of Sabarimala priest Kandararu Maheswararu, who died in May this year, said they were going for a review petition.
“Our core argument is that presiding deity of Sabarimala Shrine has some peculiarities. The deity is in the form of ‘Naishtika Brahmachari’ and has certain rights to uphold the privacy of the deity. And the deity’s private space is the temple, so we were expecting a much more balanced verdict. We will certainly file a review petition. We still have the legal remedy with us. Until October 16, the temple is closed too, so we have time.”
In a four-one majority verdict, the Supreme Court on Friday lifted ban on entry of women in the temple following a 20-year legal battle, ruling that patriarchy cannot be allowed to trump faith.
Sabarimala temple's rule was made from the still widely-held belief in India that menstruating women are "impure".
"To treat women as children of a lesser god is to blink at the constitution itself," said Justice DY Chandrachud, one of the five judges in the constitution that gave a majority verdict on Friday.
Women activists on the other hand, hailed the Supreme Court judgement, but expressed concern over its acceptance at the ground level by people.
"I am doubtful the temple authorities would take it in the right spirit. Women would accept it but its implementation might pose a problem," Chhavi Methi, a women rights activist said.
Activist Trupti Desai also hailed the apex court's decision as a step in the direction.
"We welcome the decision of the apex court. This is a very big win for women and is a historical decision. Women have today got right to equality and we will soon declare a date to enter the Sabarimala Shrine. There is a mentality, which is responsible for such practices and this thought process must be changed and we have taken a very significant step forward in that direction with this constitutional win."
Another women rights activist Vani Subramaniam said the decision is an extension of various pro-equality judgements taken by the Supreme Court, but she too expressed concern over the community's reaction to it. "Question remains to be seen how it is accepted in the community and by the people at the ground level," she said.
Mariam Dhawale, General Secretary of the All India Democratic Women's Association, called it another step that would help in bringing equality. "We welcome the judgement. Women have a constitutional right to be able to visit the temple and whoever wishes must be allowed to visit it," she said.