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Jul 24, 2018 60 tweets 17 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
1. #Sabarimala hearings commence. Dr. Singhvi submits on behalf of the Travancore Devaswom Board that he is limiting the scope of his submissions to only the Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple.
2. Dr. Singhvi is placing before the Court the history of the #Sabarimala Temple and the requirements of the vow to be observed for 41 days prior to visiting the Temple.
3. Dr. Singhvi submits that every Ayyappa devotee who observes the vow is himself treated as a Swami, which epifies the line Tat Tvam Asi
4. Justice Nariman points out that the Travancore Devaswom Board had earlier submitted before the Kerala High Court that even menstratuating women were permitted on the first five days of the relevant month. #Sabarimala
5. Justice Nariman asks what happens to the celibate nature of the Deity when women are allowed on certain days of the year. #Sabarimala
6. Justice Nariman asks if the practice is immemorial or recent. #Sabarimala
7. Dr. Singhvi points out that at this stage the Court is looking at all the issues afresh. Further he submits that there is no basis for the assumption that the practice at Sabarimala is related to menstruation. #Sabarimala
8. Dr. Singhvi submits that the language of the impugned notification of the age bar can be reworded to one which is based on women with reproductive capabilities as opposed to age. #Sabarimala
9. Dr. Singhvi is reading out extracts from the history of the #Sabarimala Temple and the celibate nature of the Deity.
10. Justice Chandrachud asks how can we start with the unconstitutional assumption that women with reproductive capabilities are not capable of observing the 41 day penance.
11. Dr. Singhvi submits that the test under the law is not whether you can exclude women. The test is what does the practice prescribe. Dr. Singhvi points out that no woman is allowed to enter a Mosque in India, regardless of whether she is menstratuating or not
12. Dr. Singhvi submits that test is whether the practice is long established, whether it is bonafide. #Sabarimala
13. Dr. Singhvi submits that the test is not whether the Court agrees the practice or not if it is established that Ayyappa devotees constitute a religious denomination and whether the practice is essential to the belief. #Sabarimala
14. Justice Chandrachud submits that after 1950 everything is subject to Constitutional ethos. Dr Singhvi submits that Constitutional ethos requires the court to apply the essentiality test. #Sabarimala
15. Justice Nariman adds that Constitutional morality is the compass which applies to all faiths. #Sabarimala.
16. Justice Nariman agrees with Dr. Singhvi that the bar of Entry of women into Mosques too would fall within this enquiry. #Sabarimala
17. The CJI weighs in and observes that Article 26 protects only the essential religious practices of religious denominations. #Sabarimala
18. Dr. Singhvi submits that if the restriction on entry has a nexus to the essential religious practice, it too is protected by Article 26
19. The CJI observes that the first thing that needs to be looked into is whether the restriction on entry of women with reproductive capabilities constitutes an essential part of the religious practice of the #Sabarimala Temple
20. Dr. Singhvi is walking the Court through documents which evidence the various aspects of the vow undertaken by Ayyappa Devotees before they start the journey to the #Sabarimala Temple.
21. Justice Nariman himself acknowledges that neither the State nor the Temple Board have said in their affidavits that the restriction is based on any notions of impurity associated with menstruation. #Sabarimala
22. Dr. Singhvi submits that the Thanthri of the Temple is the last word on the religious practices observed by the #Sabarimala Temple and where he is unsure, he has recourse to the practice of Devaprashnam.
23. Dr. Singhvi is reading out extracts from the judgement of the Kerala High Court. Justice Nariman points out that the High Court has held that Ayyappa devotees constitute a religious denomination under Article 26. #Sabarimala
24. The CJI questions the assumption that Ayyappa Devotees constitute a religious denomination, whereas Justice Nariman seems to agree that they indeed constitute a religious denomination. #Sabarimala
25. After reading out the evidence submits that the documentary suggests that there is a practice on the basis of belief. For the Court to disagree with it, a trial must be conducted before the Court can set aside a long standing essential religious practice. #Sabarimala
26. Dr. Singhvi submits that the burden is on the Petitioner to show evidence to dispel the practice which they have not placed so far. #Sabarimala
27. Dr. Singhvi submits that a time-bound six month trial should be conducted so that all parties can lead evidence with respect to the practice, before a decision is taken. #Sabarimala
28. Justice Nariman points out that the one who asserts custom must prove it. Dr. Singhvi submits that he has already placed the evidence on record. #Sabarimala
29. The CJI continues to observe that Dr. Singhvi has to prove that Ayyappa devotees constitute a religious denomination. #Sabarimala
30. Arguments to continue post lunch #Sabarimala
31. Dr. Singhvi resumes and submits that the Court cannot be invited without evidence to rule on facts that the practice in question is not longstanding. #Sabarimala
32. Dr. Singhvi is taking the Court through judgements on what constitutes as essential religious practice and what constitutes a religious denomination. #Sabarimala
33. Dr. Singhvi is reading out extracts from the Shirur Mutt decision. Justice Nariman says "what an outstanding judgement! Outstanding!" #Sabarimala
34. Dr. Singhvi is now reading out extracts from the Chidambaram Temple judgement of 2014. #Sabarimala
35. Justice Chandrachud asks- if all classes of Hindus can worship at #Sabarimala Temple, would the Temple still constitute a religious denomination?
36. Dr. Singhvi submits that even if Ayyappa Devotees don't constitute a religious denomination, they have rights under Article 25
37. Dr. Singhvi is now placing on Venkataramana Devaru judgment. #Sabarimala
38. Dr. Singhvi submits that if the law protects even dietary prescriptions based on religion, it certainly protects practices relating to entry into the Temple and worship of the Deity. #Sabarimala
39. Dr. Singhvi is reading out extracts from judgements which emphasise the importance of Agamas. #Sabarimala
40 Dr. Singhvi submits that it is not for the Court to comment on the rationality of religious beliefs. That the belief exists and traditions based on the belief have been practiced for centuries is sufficient to merit protection under Article 26. #Sabarimala
41. Dr. Singhvi is now placing reliance on the Ratilal Panachand judgement of the Supreme Court. #Sabarimala
42. Dr. Singhvi is now placing examples before the Court of Temples which place restrictions on the entry of men. #Sabarimala
43. Dr. Singhvi cites the Brahma Temple in Pushkar, a Parvathy Temple in Tamil Nadu, Attukal Bhagavathy Temple in Kerala, a Bhagavathy Temple in Kerala, a Temple in Bihar. #Sabarimala
44. Dr. Singhvi reiterates that all Mosques in India, except the Fatimid Bohri mosques, women are barred from entering. #Sabarimala
45. Dr. Singhvi submits that if the position of the Petitioner were to accepted, it would affect practices at these Temples also. Not all practices are based on misogyny. #Sabarimala
46. Mr. Parasaran points out that the Petitioner is not claiming a right of worship. They have filed the Petition as a social issue. They can't even assert Article 25(1). #Sabarimala
47. Dr Singhvi submits that the issue of evidence of tradition only after a trial is conducted before the Court exercises powers under Article 32. #Sabarimala
48. Dr. Singhvi submits that moharram processions too could be Objected to on grounds of notions of savagery or barbarism prevalent in 2018. #Sabarimala
49. Dr. Singhvi is also citing the practice of Aghoris to point to the diversity of Hindu practices. #Sabarimala
50. Dr. Singhvi is drawing attention Judaism's approach to menstruation. Justice Indu Malhotra acknowledges the example. #Sabarimala
51. Dr. Singhvi submits that if at all reform is called for, it has to come from within the community. #Sabarimala
52. Dr. Singhvi submits that several Hindu women understand and respect the tradition. It is not a practice imposed on women by patriarchal men. #Sabarimala
53. Justice Chandrachud observes that the acceptance by women could be the result of social conditioning. Dr. Singhvi responds that it is not true in this day and age. #Sabarimala
54. Dr. Singhvi is now addressing the Petitioner's arguments on Article 14. He submits that the classification is intelligible and is intra-women, not men v women. #Sabarimala
55. Justice Chandrachud is asking why there is no puberty or andropause related restriction on men. Dr. Singhvi submits that the comparison doesn't hold water since the condition is based on the celibate nature of the Deity. #Sabarimala
56. Justice Nariman asks if women are women can visit other Ayyappa Temples on non menstratuating days, perhaps the restriction can be traced to patriarchy. Dr. Singhvi disagrees and says there is no evidence for this assumption. #Sabarimala
57. Dr Singhvi submits that the Court cannot project notions of male chauvinism from other cases to #Sabarimala case without examining the evidence.
58. Dr. Singhvi proceeds to address the Article 17 argument of the Petitioner, to which the CJI says that the Article may not apply to this case. #Sabarimala
59. Dr Singhvi still proceeds to submit on the non applicability of Article 17 to the #Sabarimala case and is citing judgements to support the argument.
60. Dr. Singhvi has concluded his submissions. Mr. Parasaran starts tomorrow for the Nair Service Society. #Sabarimala

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More from @People4Dharma

Aug 1, 2018
1. The Bench has assembled and hearing begins in the #Sabarimala Petition.
2. Mr. Ramamoorthy, Amicus Curiae for the Respondents, commences his submissions. #Sabarimala
3. Mr. Ramamoorthy submits that today through the Petition the very existence and origins of Lord Ayyappa have been questioned. #Sabarimala
Read 73 tweets
Jul 31, 2018
1. The Bench has assembled. The #Sabarimala hearing resumes.
2. Mr. V. K. Biju appears for @RahulEaswar an intervenor supporting the Temple. #Sabarimala
3. Mr. Biju wishes to place before the Court certain extracts from Commonwealth debates which are of relevance to the issue at hand. #Sabarimala
Read 26 tweets
Jul 26, 2018
1. #Sabarimala hearings have commenced. Mr. K. Radhakrishnan appears for Respondent No. 19, the Pandalam Royal family, the family of Lord Ayyappa
2. Mr. Radhakrishnan is analysing Article 25 and submits that the provision has no equal anywhere in the world. #Sabarimala
3. Mr. Radhakrishnan submits that women of child bearing age restrain themselves from entering the Temple, they are giving effect to and respecting the will of the Deity. #Sabarimala
Read 134 tweets
Jul 25, 2018
1. Arguments in the #Sabarimala Petition resume. Mr. Parasaran now argues for the Nair Service Society.
2. Mr. Parasaran submits that Kerala is an educated society
3. Mr. Parasaran submits that 96% of the women in Kerala are educated. They are independent. It is a matrilineal society. Therefore to assume that the practice of the #Sabarimala Temple is based on patriarchy is fundamentally incorrect
Read 66 tweets
Jul 19, 2018
#Sabarimalahearing 1. Mr. Raju Ramachandran has resumed his submissions as the Amicus Curiae in support of the Petitioner
2. Mr. Ramachandran submits that while Article 17 was originally intended to tackle untouchability emanating from caste, nothing stops the Court from expansively interpreting it just as Article 21 has been interpreted over the years. #Sabarimala
3. Mr Ramachandran submits that if the basis for exclusion under traditional untouchability is defilement or pollution of the premises, the same logic applies to untouchability on account of defilement caused by menarche. #Sabarimala
Read 32 tweets
Jul 18, 2018
#Sabarimalahearing 1. Mr. R.P.Gupta, counsel for Indian Young Lawyers Association (the Petitioner), has resumed arguments. He again walked through the Order dated October 13,2017 wherein reference was made to the Constitution Bench
2. Mr. R.P.Gupta reiterates his position that #Sabarimala Temple has Buddhist origins. The Bench questions the relevance and authencity of the submissions in this regard.
3. Mr. R.P.Gupta is walking the Court through the Provisions of the Travancore Cochin Hindu Religious Institutions Act to make the case that the #Sabarimala Temple is part of State under the Constitution
Read 36 tweets

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