New Delhi: The Kerala government has told the Supreme Court that banning entry of women of menstrual age in the ancient Sabarimala temple in the state, is a “matter of religion” and it is duty bound to “protect the right to practice the religion of these devotees”.
In an affidavit, the state government said administration of the temple vests with the Travancore Devaswom Board under the Travancore-Cochin Hindu Religious Institutions Act and the decision of the priests is final in the matter of worship.
“In the context of Sabarimala, the administration vests with the Travancore Devaswom Board under the provisions of the Travancore-Cochin Hindu Religious Institutions Act, 1950.” Under the Act,
there is a statutory duty cast on the Board to arrange worship in temples in accordance with the historical usage.
Therefore, in matters of religion, it is the opinion of the priests that is final,” the affidavit filed by state chief secretary Jiji Thomson said.