NEW DELHI: A plea was filed in the Supreme Court on Monday seeking direction to the Kerala government to ensure the safe passage of women, regardless of their age or religion, to the historic Sabarimala temple without any hindrance from anyone including the state and its agencies.
The application, which claimed that Kerala government has "openly taken a stand in defiance" of the apex court's 2018 judgement allowing women and girls of all ages to enter the temple, said the state should be directed to prevent "unruly mobs or individuals" from obstructing women from entering the shrine.
The application filed by Bindu A, a lawyer and law teacher, said she is the first woman to enter the Sabarimala temple after the September 28, 2018 verdict of the top court in the matter.
"She has again attempted to visit Sabarimala on November 26, 2019. However, the applicant was attacked in front of the office of the Commissioner of Police, Ernakulam District, Kerala. Some chemical substances having burning sensation over the body was sprayed at her face," the application said.
It also referred to this year's November 14 verdict of the top court in the Sabarimala case.
In its November 14 judgement, the apex court, in a 3:2 majority verdict, referred to a larger 7-judge bench certain questions for consideration, including that of entry of women of all ages in Sabarimala temple along with other contentious issues of alleged discrimination against Muslim and Parsi women.
However, it had not stayed the September 28, 2018 verdict allowing girls and women of all age groups to enter Sabarimala temple.
In the fresh application, Bindu has said that the court should "direct immediate cessation of age verification and counselling done by the police officials at the behest of state of Kerala discouraging women of menstruating age from visiting Sabarimala".
It said the state be directed to give wide publicity to the September last year judgment of the top court through television/newspapers, both local and national, and appropriate proceedings should be initiated against officials and private individuals who are defying the court's verdict.
The petitioner said when she was attacked on November 26, the police failed to act in time or to give her protection.
"The situation is same for any woman aged between 10-50 who wanted to visit Sabarimala, as there is an atmosphere of fear and lawlessness en route Sabarimala," it said.
"It is submitted that the responsible government which is duty-bound to carry out the directions of this court cannot be allowed to take flimsy excuses for non-cooperation when any woman wanted to exercise her right to worship at Sabarimala," the application said.
It said the state government's stand has given a "free hand to unlawful elements" to intimidate women, aged between 10-50, from visiting Sabarimala temple.
"It is submitted that the state government which is duty-bound to act in aid of this Court under Article 144 of the Constitution of India, has expressed its intention to nullify the effect of the Orders of this Court," the application said.
Bindu also said in her application that on January 18 this year, the apex court had directed Kerala Police to provide security to two women, including her, who had entered the temple.