My response to Ram Punyani's article on Sabarimalai Temple affair

I M Sharma

Apropos "Right to Equality: Sabarimala Shrine women's entry" by Ram Punyani, I would like to say that he has not dealt with the important points of the Supreme Court being approached by some doubtful persons whose devotion to Hindu faith is questionable and also the Supreme Court majority decision for women's entry and single [woman] Judge minority dissent against such entry. I have been asserting everywhere, and even written an editorial in our journal LAW ANIMATED WORLD, appreciating and agreeing with the great dissent of Ms. Indu Malhotra, J, in this regard. I wrote in that editorial titled: "3 Crucial Decisions: 3 Great Dissents", that "... great dissent to be much appreciated is that of Ms Indu Malhotra J., who being a woman herself, boldly opposed the convoluted thinking of the majority which made encroachments into the cherished religious/cultural traditions of a particular Hindu temple in Kerala though this editor does not agree with her view of Sabarimalai devotees as a virtually separate religious denomination. We stress that local cultural traditions and some needed religious autonomy are to be respected, as exceptions to the rule of gender equality so zealously advocated by the majority; any rule will have/ will have to have some exceptions."

Elsewhere I wrote:
"Hindu temples generally do not discriminate between men and women and in many temples I have seen more numbers of women devotees than men. However, when this is the general situation and if there are some exceptions - some male only temples and some women only temples, etc. - nothing to worry. Because generality is confirmed only by exceptions - it is the case of exception proves the rule. I think there was no discrimination to the extent of inviting judicial censure in Sabarimalai temple traditions. Once it was submitted to the court that due to longstanding religious custom and local tradition women between 10 and 50 years age are only not allowed and the bar does not apply to all women, then the Court should have realized that the discrimination was selective, and had some reason (rational discrimination) and had nexus to the end (related to celibacy of the deity to be worshipped), and should have refused to intervene in the censure of local religious custom. I fully support the bold and wise dissent of the single Judge Ms. Indu Malhotra in this regard."

I also think - The Left front or CPM dominated government in Kerala has conducted and still conducting in a most idiotic manner in Kerala by unnecessarily taking up the flag of the distorted, and at once incorrect, majority judgment of the Supreme Court and displaying excessive zeal bearing the mantle themselves and mobilizing all sorts of women interested or not against the genuinely agitated women who rightly protest against this convoluted judgment. I don't understand what is the need for a rational, atheist minded parties' government to do all this nonsense. The best thing they could have done is to be neutral in the affair and left the implementation part to the Central Government and themselves citing law and order and public order problems to stall the crisis. Now they have given a GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY to the fanatic communal elements, especially BJP, to take advantage of this crisis in which effort they have succeeded to a considerable part too. In West Bengal we have seen how they bungled in the Nandigram affair and Mamata Basu, who now shamelessly caters to the corporate companies, had taken advantage of that crisis, inflamed it out of proportions, and succeeded in toppling their government perhaps not to raise again for another decade or two. So at least now let the LEFT FRONT GOVERNMENT in Kerala display some wisdom and stall all efforts to implement the SC Judgment by itself and leave the burden to the Central Government or to the next government which may step in after elections which I think may be simultaneously held along with the General Elections in 2019.

- I. Mallikarjuna Sharma, Advocate and Editor, LAW ANIMATED WORLD.

Nov 13, 2018

Mallik Sharma [email protected]

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