Kerala HC moved to ban non-Hindus from visiting Sabarimala temple

A writ petition was filed in the Kerala High Court on Wednesday seeking a ban on entry of non-Hindus into the Sabarimala temple.

The court adjourned the hearing on the petition to October 29 after asking the government to respond to it.

In his petition, T.G. Mohandas, an Ayyappa devotee, sought a directive to enforce Rule 3 (a) framed under the Kerala Hindu Places of Public Worship (Authorisation of entry) Act, 1965, which prohibits entry of non-Hindus into temples.

He said the Supreme Court had invalidated only Rule 3 (b) that prevented entry of women at such time during which they were not allowed by custom and usage to enter a place of public worship. However, the clauses (a), (c), (d), (f) of the rules were still in force.

Thus, non-Hindus and drunk or disorderly persons were not permitted entry into a Hindu temple under the Devaswom boards. However, persons of unsound mind could be permitted under proper control and with the permission of the executive authority of the place of public worship concerned.

He said the State government, Travancore Devaswom Board, and the police attempted to create communal disharmony at Sabarimala by facilitating entry of non-Hindu women opposed to idol worship into the temple against the wishes of the devotees.

The petitioner pointed out that the government had not tried to take the stakeholders into confidence before implementing the Supreme Court verdict. In fact, the Supreme Court had not fixed any time frame for implementing its verdict. Therefore, it would have been possible for the administration to discuss with the stakeholders and frame a scheme for regulating/facilitating women devotees.

Mr. Mohandas sought a directive to conduct an independent investigation into the police action in permitting non-Hindu women and non-idol worshippers, in violation of these rules.

Meanwhile, a petition was filed seeking a directive to restrain the government and the police from allowing young women to visit Sabarimala under police protection till adequate infrastructure was in place.

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