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Sabarimala : Kerala HC Dismisses Petition Against Implementing SC Judgment On Women Entry

The High Court of Kerala today dismissed a petition filed by National Ayyaappa Devotees Association and few others against the implementation of Supreme Court’s judgment in Indian Young Lawyers Associaiton case, which permitted entry of women of all age groups to Sabarimala temple.

The petition was filed contending that the SC judgment was merely “declaratory in nature”, without casting any positive obligation on the State Government to implement it. It was also stated that the PIL in the apex court was not filed by devotees and that the same was based on newspaper reports. Therefore, the petition contended that the judgment of the Supreme Court was ‘per incuriam’ and ‘sub silentio’ and not binding on Ayyappa devotees.

The Division Bench of Justices P R Ramachandra Menon and N Anilkumar held that the High Court cannot examine the scope and correctness of the Supreme Court judgment. The Division Bench also noted that the petitioners have already approached the Supreme Court filing a writ petition seeking to set aside the Sabarimala judgment. The petitioner has also sought review of the same. These petitions are to be considered by the SC next week.Regarding this the Court observed that the petitioners cannot pursue two parallel remedies before different courts simultaneously.

Petitioner’s counsel Advocate Mathews Nedumpara submitted that the State Government has misunderstood the declaration given by SC and has adopted hasty measures to implement the judgment, which has resulted in converting Sabarimala into a “warzone”. The judgment of the SC ,which is merely a declaratory one, is misunderstood to be one which requires its compliance and execution, as the SC did not issue any order or direction- the counsel submitted. The argument however did not weigh with the Court. The Court held that the issue can be addressed only by the SC. The Court also expressed its unhappiness with the statement made in the petition that “This Hon’ble Court too happened to be misled to construe the said judgment as one requiring compliance”. The Court asked the Nedumpara as to the basis for making such a statement in the petition, upon which he conceded mistake. The Court also noted that the petition had technical defects as only one of the eight petitioners had attested the pleadings in the petition.

Clarifying that the Court was not expressing anything on the merits of the petition, the Court dismissed it, reserving the petitioners’ liberty to move the apex court seeking remedies.

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