NEW DELHI: With an aim of welfare of the pilgrims visiting the Sabarimala temple, the Supreme Court on Wednesday has asked the Kerala government to come up with a law exclusively for the temple’s administration.
The court made the observation while hearing a petition that was originally filed by the Pandalam Royal Family to protect their rights.
During the hearing, the bench pulled up Kerala government for not formulating a separate law despite its earlier direction and only produced draft amendments in the Travancore-Cochin Hindu Religious Institutions Act.
“This is not enough. There is need for a new, exclusive law for administration of Sabarimala temple,” the bench headed by Justice N V Ramana said while giving government a deadline of four weeks to form a new law for the temple. The bench has slated the hearing in third week of January 2020.
According to the State's amendments in the Travancore-Cochin Religious Institutions Act, there is a provision of inclusion of 1/3rd quota for women in the advisory committees.
But the bench asked the government how there can be women in the panel when a 7-judge Bench is yet to examine question of essential religious practices.
Last week, the Supreme Court had referred the case to a 7-judge bench. The Court also said that the larger bench would go beyond the issue of Sabarimala and would consider practices of all faith.
During the hearing, one of the judges on the bench Justice Gavai remarked that as of now, the September 2018 judgement revoking prohibition on entry of women between 10 and 50 years continues to hold.
But the statement from the bench was not related to the case which the present bench was hearing as the bigger constitution bench of seven judges will decide on the entry of women. So, the issue remains pending till the new bench is constituted and till then state government is responsible for enforcement of the order.