TDB may take a tempered stance on Sabarimala

Board meet will weigh all options, including its legal obligation to implement SC decision

Ahead of the Supreme Court commencing further hearing on the Sabarimala women’s entry issue, the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) is reported to be veering round to a tempered stance that will lay accent on ensuring a smooth and peaceful pilgrimage.

The board, scheduled to meet in the next two days, will weigh all options, including its legal obligation for implementing the apex court decision, but will give due weightage to the need for conserving the ritualistic tradition.

The mayhem that erupted after the September 28, 2018 Supreme Court verdict according permission for women of all age groups to have darshan at the temple and the disruption of pilgrimage are the main factors that seem to have prompted the board to give due weightage to all factors before crystallising its stance.

The Union Home Department had directed the State to initiate steps to implement the apex court decision, but once the State took the lead, the tables were turned against the Left Democratic Front (LDF) and the government and the onus was squarely placed on it. The Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which welcomed the verdict altered their stance in due course and emerged as the champions of those opposed to the verdict. The government and the board had to bear the blame of failing to protect the right of the devotees for a peaceful pilgrimage.

“The TDB has its legal obligation to abide by the Supreme Court decision, whatever it may be. We will accept it in letter and spirit. Along with that, the board has to consider other complementing factors such as conduct of a smooth and peaceful pilgrimage in the coming years and conservation of rituals and traditions. All these would figure in our priorities before arriving at a final conclusion, TDB president N. Vasu told The Hindu.

The board was now focussed on further improving pilgrim amenities so that more pilgrims could have darshan without giving room for any complaints, he said.

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