After the Supreme Court referred a batch of petitions to a larger bench in the Sabarimala case, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) on Thursday expressed hope that justice would be delivered by upholding the religious rights of the people.
In a statement, VHP secretary general Milind Parande said that “unique tradition of a unique temple is not gender discrimination”. “Hindu dharma doesn’t practice gender discrimination and the Sabarimala case is nowhere related to any gender discrimination but in the true sense, it relates to the unique tradition of an unique temple,” he said.
Parande said that the larger bench of the apex court will make a decision whether the judiciary should interfere in an integral part of a religion.
“Out of many temples of Lord Ayyappa, only Sabarimala has the age-related (10 to 50 years) restrictions because of its unique nature and traditions. Lakhs of women devotees have faith in the temple tradition and protested in huge numbers in support of it. We are hopeful that the justice would be delivered upholding the religious rights of the people,” Parande added.
Earlier in the day, a five-judge bench of the Supreme Court referred a clutch of petitions seeking review of its order which paved the way for the entry of women into Sabarimala temple in Kerala to a larger seven-judge bench by a majority 3:2 ruling and observed that the right to worship by an individual cannot outweigh rights of a religious group.
While Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justices A M Khanwilkar and Indu Malhotra send the review petitions to a larger bench, Justices Nariman and Chandrachud authored a dissenting judgment.
The review petitions challenged the authority of the apex court to intervene in the belief of the people. It argued that the temple deity is a “Brahmachari” (celibate) and “centuries-old beliefs” should not be disturbed by the entry of menstruating women worshippers.