Sabarimala: LDF govt stands by UDF affidavit, opposes entry of women

Sabarimala: LDF govt stands by UDF affidavit, opposes entry of women

Murali Krishnan

The hearing in the case on entry of women into Sabarimala Temple has been adjourned. The matter will now be heard on November 7 this year.

The hearing today witnessed some “pro-Constitution Bench sentiments” with certain advocates including Senior Advocate KK Venugopal voicing their opinions on the issue.

The court discussed at length whether the case deserves to be heard by a Constitution Bench, before eventually deciding that this would not be required. In other words, this Bench will only hear out the case.

Meanwhile, the Kerala government made it clear that it will stand by the affidavit filed by the earlier UDF government. Senior Advocate V Giri, appearing for Kerala government, submitted that it stands by the affidavit filed earlier this year.

The UDF government had changed the affidavit submitted by the earlier LDF government which was in power for five years till 2011. While the LDF government had said that the temple should be thrown open to women, the UDF government which succeeded it, had changed this stance and opposed the entry of women.

With the LDF coming back to power in May this year, there were speculations on whether the Kerala government would change its stance again. However, with Giri’s submissions today, these speculations have been put to rest.

Besides all these, the issue of whether the new Bench would re-hear the case was raised by Senior Advocate Indira Jaising.

The matter was initially heard by Justice Dipak Misra along with Justices V Gopala Gowda and Justice Kurian Joseph. All the petitioners and the Amicus Curiae had completed their submissions. The Bench, however, stood changed after the summer vacation and Justice C Nagappan and R Banumathi replaced Justices Gowda and Joseph.

When Jaising queried about whether all parties will have to repeat their submissions before the new Bench, the court did not give any clear answer.

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