[dropcap style=”default, square, or circle”]T[/dropcap]he following is the press release sent to The Dharma Dispatch from Dr. M.V. Soundararajan, Convenor, Temples Protection Movement, an organisation based in Hyderabad. The full text of the press release is as follows. Sri Soundararajan is also renowned for his pioneering work in keeping our temple traditions alive and in pristine condition at the famous Chilkur Balaji Temple, also known as the “Visa” Balaji Temple on the outskirts of Hyderabad.
5th October 2018
UNION GOVERNMENT SHOULD PROTECT RIGHTS OF SWAMY AYYAPPA
My wife Smt Vasumathi- the motive force behind my fight for Temples Protection attained the lotus feet of Lord Chilkur Balaji on Oct 1st.
She was shell shocked by the verdict on Sabarimala.
Her last wish was that I continue the fight for protection of the Temple System.
Her demise is a great personal loss to me and my family, in deference to her last wish and the spontaneous leaderless and dedicated fight by lakhs of women devotees of Shri Ayyappa who are protesting to protect the rights of the Deity has inspired me in releasing this appeal to the Central Government with a strong hope that they would respond suitably. I am also releasing this appeal since I love this Nation and this judgement if not corrected is detrimental to interests of the Nation.
In his classic book “We the People” Shri Nani Palkhivala the late eminent jurist defines Constitutional morality in the following manner. ”We must get away from the fallacy of ‘the legal solubility of all problems’. In a Constitution what is left unsaid is as important as what is said. Our Constitutional equilibrium can be preserved only by Obedience to the Unenforceable. The survival of our democracy and the unity and integrity of the nation depend upon the realization that Constitutional morality is no less essential than Constitutional legality. Dharma (Righteousness; sense of public duty or virtue) lives in the hearts of public men; when it dies there, no Constitution, no law, no amendment, can save it.”
Even though the word “Constitutional Morality” occurs many times in the Supreme Court’s Constitution Bench judgement on Sabarimala, I have no hesitation in saying that except for Justice Indu Malhotra, none of the other learned judges in their judgements upheld the spirit of Dharma.
The essence of Constitutional Morality is the main reason why the Supreme Court emblem has “Yato Dharmastatho Jayaha”. Lady Justice Indu Malhotra’s judgement makes us appreciate why Sage Aapasthambhaa said that Women are the custodians of Dharma.
The flaws in the concurring judgements of the four learned judges is clearly evident when one reads the judgement of Justice Indu Malhotra which is the shortest but is worth its weight in gold.
1. They are flawed because they did not recognize Ayyappa Devotees as a Religious Denomination. It failed to recognize their constitutional rights under Art 25 & Art 26 to protect the religious custom, usage and tradition of their deity
2. They are flawed because they did not recognize Lord Shri Manikandan is a Citizen of India under Article 5. Shri Manikandan who became Ayyappa, sacrificing his throne is a Citizen and enjoys all fundamental rights and his vow of Naishtika Brahmacharyam is protected by the Constitution.
3. They are flawed because of their wrong interpretation of Art 14.Art 14 can only be invoked by the worshippers and believers of Ayyappa Deity and not by people who do not believe in the Deity and His tradition through a PIL process
4. They are flawed because the learned judges of Supreme Court did not understand that our religious fundamental rights are the natural rights flowing since time immemorial and they cannot be denied by their Lordships who are under the Lord of Lords, the Almighty.
5. They are flawed because as Shri Palkhivala warned, the learned judges of Supreme Court have finally used the essential practices doctrine to reform the Ayyappa Religious Denomination out of existence.
[dropcap style=”default, square, or circle”]T[/dropcap]he Central Government has a crucial role to play to protect Swamy Ayyappa and His devotees’ constitutional rights. The Kerala State Government has influenced the Travancore Devasom Board not to file a Review Petition which would have allowed a rethink by the Supreme Court of its flawed majority verdict on the basis of Justice Indu Malhotra’s dissent.
It is important to note here that Ayyappa devotees are not only in Kerala but they are present in all the States of our Country and therefore when the atheistic Kerala State Government has unilaterally decided not to file a Review Petition and also forced the Travancore Devaswon Board to toe its line the Central Government needs to perform its Constitutional Duty and act as per Dharma.
On behalf of Crores of Ayyappa Devotees and Swamy Ayyappa. the Temples Protection Movement appeals to Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi to immediately take the advice of the eminent Attorney General Shri K.K. Venugopal on the steps to be taken.
We humbly suggest that an ordinance be issued by the Central Government invoking its powers under Art 254 (Which provides Union Government to legislate on items in the concurrent list) to protect the custom, usage and tradition of Shri Ayyappa Swamy and His worshippers. As part of the ordinance, the following should be made explicit so that the basis of the flawed Supreme Court judgement is removed.
1. Define that Swamy Ayyappan and His worshippers constitute a Religious Denomination under Art 26
2. Swamy Ayyapan as Shri Manikandan having been born in Indian territory as per Art 5 be deemed as a Citizen so that fundamental rights are not denied to the Deity and his vow of Naishtika Brahmacharyam is protected under Art 25 of our Constitution.
3. To prevent such wrong judgements in future, the Union Government needs to constitute a Hindu Religious Endowments Tribunal with experts who can determine what constitutes an Essential Practice and also address such questions as to who constitute a Religious Denomination.
Such a Tribunal was recommended by Hindu Religious Endowments Commission of 1962 headed by eminent Jurist C.P. Ramaswamy Iyer. This would also be in line with Justice Indu Malhotra’s judgement. Various Religious Institutions like Shri Ahobila Mutt etc. had already recommended for such a tribunal.
Dr. M.V. Soundararajan
(Convenor Temples Protection Movement)