The Leaflet

| @theleaflet_in | July 25,2018

Senior advocate K Parasaran commenced arguments on behalf of the Nair Society opposing the PIL seeking entry of women to the Sabarimala temple in front of the five-judge Constitution bench. Stating that the State of Kerala is highly educated, he invoked Article 25 stating that it has equality built into it. Claiming that some issues are easy to argue but difficult for judges to decide, Parasaran stated that the issue of the case passes the test of constitutionality as there is good reason for women’s exclusion.

Parasaran then proceeded to cite judgments highlighting the importance of God, before propounding Hindu religion’s “tolerance and non-discriminatory” nature. He then advanced arguments pertaining to the celibate character of the deity of the temple, Lord Ayyapa, claiming that it enjoys constitutional protection.

Before the Bench rose for lunch, Parasaran further submitted that visitors to the Sabarimala temple should not be accompanied by young women, with mothers, sisters and children being excluded. He reasoned that entering the Temple need not follow brahmacharya or celibacy, but should appear to do so.

Post lunch, Justice DY Chandrachud stated that Article 25(2)(b) may not be of relevance while examining rules excluding women. Parasaran further argued that Article 15(1) contains no mention of “temple”, and proceeded to refer to judgments pertaining to the interpretation of statutes.

This was followed by an exchange between Parasaran and Justice Nariman. One being questioned by Justice Nariman about the whether the core of Article 25(2)(b) lies within Article 17, Parasaran replied in the affirmative, stating that Article 25(2)(b) is solely context to the caste system.

Justice Nariman then raised the question of social reform legislation being brought by the State to allow entry to women, to which Parasaran responded by stating it should then be subject to the Court’s interpretation which does not disturb the character of Sabarimala’s deity.

Justice Nariman also asked for a copy of the laws under which the Devaswom Board was constituted, which led Parasaran to refer to the Board’s duties.

With this, the Bench rose for the day with arguments to resume tomorrow.

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