Thiruvananthapuram: The ban on women’s entry into Sabarimala temple is not justified, according to Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran. “The majority of devotees who worship at temples are women. Keeping just one temple out of bounds for women is not fair,” he told reporters here on Saturday.
The entry of women between the ages of 10 and 50 is barred at Sabarimala shrine. Mr Kadakampally said a decision on the issue would be taken after talks with the people concerned. Now the matter is pending before the Supreme Court and hence the government will wait for its judgment. “The LDF is in favour of wide-ranging discussions to arrive at a consensus on the issue,” he said.
It may be recalled that the previous UDF government was against interfering with the traditions at Sabarimala shrine as in the case of Christian and Muslim places of worship.
Replying to the Supreme Court’s query whether the devaswom had a constitutional right to prevent women’s entry into the Sabarimala shrine, former chief minister Oommen Chandy had pointed out that the devaswom system which governed Hindu temples had started during the monarchy. The government had so far intervened only in the administrative affairs of devaswom boards.
In a major decision, the LDF government on Saturday decided to scrap the Devaswom Recruitment Board and route all appointments through the Public Service Commission. This was announced by Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran. During the previous LDF government’s tenure Devaswom appointments were routed through PSC.
However, the UDF government stopped the practice and constituted Devaswom Recruitment Board through an ordinance in 2014. It brought all appointments in temples affiliated to Travancrore, Kochi , Guruvayur and Malabar Devaswom Boards and associated institutions under the Devaswom Recruitment Board. The minister said that Devaswom Recruitment Board had facilitated corruption in a big way and it had to be scrapped. The Government had given Rs 2 crore for Devaswom Recruitment Board in 2015.