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Sabarimala order: Kerala govt to move SC

Initial talks on with standing counsel in New Delhi

The State government will apprise the Supreme Court (SC) of the legal complications and other obstacles it had encountered while attempting to implement the apex court’s order on September 28 allowing women, irrespective of their age, to worship at the Sabarimala Ayyappa temple.

Official sources said the government was in consultation with State’s standing counsel in New Delhi. The administration wanted to file a petition this week itself to seek more clarity and guidance from the Supreme Court in the intervening time it takes for the highest court consider the pleas seeking a review of the decision. The Supreme Court is scheduled to examine the review petitions on January 22.

They said the move came against the backdrop of as many as 45 petitions filed in various lower courts by different parties challenging the police strategy in Sabarimala.

The government felt the petitions filed by individuals and organisations were part of a larger plan to frustrate the implementation of the court order.

Moreover, the officials said the government could not ignore the personalised attacks on police officers, the questioning of their language credentials, the portrayal of their past actions in the line of duty in poor light and openly doubting their experience in regulating crowds anymore.

The IPS Officer’s Association had worryingly pointed out to the government on Friday that officers on Sabarimala duty faced personal attacks and threats in the social media and also the physical world. Some faced threats at home and also to family members. Many officers were singled out and disparaged for their religion and personal faith. Such acts were potentially demoralising for the force.

The State police on Sunday said they had not moved the Supreme Court on their own till now. However, the law enforcement was not aware of any private or individual move to call the attention of the court to the issues police officers faced in Sabarimala.

Officials said the government priority was to ensure safe passage for devotees, including women, to Sabarimala. The slew of litigations in court could hamstring its efforts to uphold the court order.

They said the number of pilgrims had increased with peace returning to Sabarimala. The police were an apolitical and Constitutionally sanctioned force. The government felt that no organisations should make the police a punching bag in the political wrangle over the implementation of the court’s order.

A senior officer said the government felt that a clear-cut direction from the court would help defend the administration its legal and moral ground in the matter.

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