Toeing the line of the CPM-led government in the state, the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) — which manages the Sabarimala shrine — on Wednesday decided not to move a review petition against the Supreme Court order allowing women of all age groups into the Lord Ayyappa temple.
This is perhaps the first time that the current TDB has echoed the state government’s stand in the matter. Earlier, the present board had invited criticism from progressive Left elements after it adopted a stand in the SC restricting entry of women between 10-50 years into the temple.
The TDB’s announcement came hours after Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan announced the government will not go for any review in the matter. “When Supreme Court issues an order that is the law of the country. Until another verdict, that order would be maintained as the rule. The state government has to implement the order,” Vijayan said.
Later in the day, following a meeting of the TDB, its president and former CPM legislator A Padmakumar told reporters that the board would also implement the SC order. “The Kerala HC had questioned the board (TDB) on steps taken to implement the SC verdict. Against this backdrop, the board decided to put in place facilities for the women pilgrims.”
The Congress and BJP, however, are pressing the state to bring in an ordinance to protect the traditions of the temple in case a review petition was not possible. Meanwhile, Congress working , Kodikkunnil Suresh, said the erstwhile royal family of Pandalam has also opposed entry of women of all ages into the temple.