The popular Sabarimala temple, dedicated to Lord Ayyappa, draws thousands of devotees every day.

'De Facto' stay on SC Sabarimala Verdict: Kerala Law Minister

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AK Balan, Kerala Law Minister on Sunday (November 17) said that the government can only move according to the Supreme Court’s verdict and there was a “de facto” stay of the verdict on the entry of women in Sabarimala temple.

On Sunday, the Sabarimala temple in Kerala’s Pathanamthitta district witnessed heavy rush of devotees as thousands of thronged to offer prayers at the Lord Ayyappa temple when it opened for the annual two-month-long Mandala-Makaravilakku pilgrimage on Saturday (November 16).

A high-level meeting of the officials, chaired by Kerala Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran was held. Various issues related to the facilities arranged for devotees for the pilgrimage season were discussed. Surendran in a media briefing said the issues of fund crisis were resolved after the government released ₹30 crores of the ₹100 crore allotted for the temple.

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“In this case, a constitutional government can act only according to the orders of the court. Now we have a new problem. The question was whether the verdict of November 14 stayed the earlier order. De jure there is no stay, but de facto there is a stay. The 2018 order has stayed in effect even though it was not officially mentioned,” said AK Balan.

‘De jure’ means existing or holding a specified position by legal right while ‘De facto’ means existing or holding a specified position in fact but not necessarily by legal right.

The Dewaswom board which manages temples in the state has made elaborate arrangements for the devotees. According to PTI, till Sunday morning, around 28,540 devotees had climbed the hill.

On November 14, the five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi in a 3:2 verdict decided to refer the issue to a larger bench to re-examine religious issues including those arising out of its 2018 verdict lifting a centuries-old ban on women of menstruating age visiting the hilltop shrine.

ALSO READ: On Sabarimala opening eve, activists warned, no security to women

Though the apex court did not stay its September 2018 order allowing entry of women into the Lord Ayyappa temple, the LDF government in Kerala this time said the shrine is not a ground for activism and made it clear it would not encourage women who want to visit the temple for publicity.

(With inputs from PTI)

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