Supreme court’s Sabarimala ruling was flawed-rejection of ‘stay plea’ is more fallacious
There was a popular “bureaucracy joke” that most of us would have thoroughly enjoyed it. A retired senior citizen submits his ‘life certificate and presents himself before the authorities in the month of October and receives his pension for the month of October. Then his 2 months pension (September and October) were due for non-production of “life certificate.” So he once again had to approach the authorities for his September month pension and for which he was directed to produce the ‘life’ certificate once again. Highly ridiculous indeed. Is not it? So, let us review once, a similar bizarre situation that arose in the ‘Sabarimala’ case proceedings when the very “rejection of stay plea” sans the logical progression of the case.
The very plea of the petitioner that the Sabarimala shrine had been practising gender bias, could have been very well rejected as there was ample evidence to prove the fact that there was absolutely no gender-bias prevalent in the Sabarimala temple and the practice if at all was everything to do with the age-old tradition of the temple in view of the celibate status of the deity,
but Gender Bias.
This case, in fact, had provided ample scope and excellent contextual instances for the Judges to differentiate between a ‘downright gender bias’ and a ‘mere requisite part of the tradition’ that was specifically associated with the deity of Sabarimala which is not akin to any other Hindu deity. Further, there is no specific sanction in any Hindu scriptures to impose gender bias in Temples.
The advantage in Hinduism has always been the absence of a ‘single holy book’ and its associated dogmas and calamities.’ If there were to be a single holy book, and if the woman is specifically prohibited in to ‘Agama Temples’ then that would have been a serious matter for debate and could have been dubbed as a perfect evidence of imposition of gender bias. But there was no such imposition in Hindu scriptures and gender bias was not in practice anywhere in the two lakh Hindu temples but for in just 2 or 3 Temples.
So here the former CJI Deepak Mishra had lost an excellent opportunity to write a historical and equally vivid judgment by rejecting the petitioner’s contention of ‘gender bias” and highlighting the consecrated tradition that is separating the charge of the insipid jargon of “gender bias and patriarchy’. He also lost the opportunity to highlight Hinduism’s unique feature of gender equality which has been ingrained in the very Sanatana Dharma very unmindfully, for the reason Hinduism never treated its woman as inferior to its man as a result of any kind of male chauvinism or superiority complex. This fact apart, in most of the Hindu family rituals ‘wife, always takes part and fulfills her part of obeisance jointly with her husband.
Moreover, the Hon’ble Bench (excepting the learned Justice Indu Malhotra) clearly swayed by the ‘modern social justice aspect of “gender equality’ and passed the order straightaway interfering into a religious tradition.
Yet, no amount of persuasive arguments could change the Hon’ble Judges predestined conviction of ‘gender bias’ in Sabarimala tradition.
On the question of ‘urgency’ of the ‘Ayodhya’ litigation, CJI Ranjan Gogoi had outright adjourned the scheduled hearing saying that ‘there were very urgent and pressing matters than the “Ayodhya” case. However, it was disproportionate to ignore the similar ‘not so emergency’ situation of the ‘Sabarimala’ petition and to undo a thousand years of a continuous tradition.
While admitting several review petitions seeking review of the September ruling of the 5 Judges Bench of Supreme Court on the issue of ‘woman’s entry’ into the Sabarimala Temple, CJI had specifically ordered that ‘There will not be any ‘stay’ of the earlier order. This is quite unjust and sans reasoning too. When stay was rejected ex parte without hearing the petitioners justice was denied. Hon’ble CJI ought to have exercised plenty of thinking on logical grounds as well, and also considered the prevalent intense atmosphere in the Shrine, before outrightly rejecting the ‘stay’ plea.
When the Sabarimala tradition was being followed over one thousand years, a stay of a “few days”, would not have caused any serious violation of any fundamental rights of any citizens, or caused any loss, since the SC order only bestowed a ‘fresh right’ to the woman of all ages. A ‘right’ which was hitherto not in place, but ’emerged’ afresh by the SC order. Hence staying of this newly acquired ‘right’ (which the woman of all ages freshly acquired just 45 days ago by the order of the Supreme Court) for few days till the hearing of the review petitions would not have breached any fundamental rights or caused any damage to any institutions or Constitutional values and principles.
On the contrary, a stay of the SC September order would have in fact restored order in Sabarimala till Pongal time (Makara Vilakku on 14th January 2019) and devotees would have moved peacefully and relieved the State Law and Order machinery from jumbles. All the ill-treatment and humiliation of devotees could have been avoided for a short while. In addition to this, it is quite amusing why the hearing of review was posted to 22nd January 2019, specifically after the Makara Vilakku that is traditionally followed on 14th January of every year, and that date is the ‘closing day’ of the season too.
These orders and the events of the Hon’ble Supreme Court is clearly indicative of a possible rejection of the review petitions. This apprehension is chiefly based on the fact of ‘rejection of petitioners plea for stay’. If the Supreme Court had considered the stay, the final outcome can be anticipated ‘either way’. Since stay has been rejected, the final outcome would obviously be ‘rejection’ of review petitions.
Rejection of plea for stay and posting the review petitions after the scheduled holy Makara Villakku event (14-01-2019) clearly a ‘hint’.
The most painful aspect of all these events that took place in the Supreme Court on Sabarimala issue is, from the beginning the nation was getting a feeling that the Supreme Court Judges (except Justice Indu Malhotra) are concurring with the liberal media and leftist view of ‘gender bias” , ignoring the very tradition of the soil.
The popular saying ‘Not only must Justice be done; it must also be seen to be done”.
Columnist, poet, Activist-Heritage lover, Ancient Indian History, Architecture