Skip to main content
Browse Law School Education Constitutional Law Discussion on the Sabarimala Case


Charu Mathur: Hello and welcome to EBC learning. Today with me I have a very special friend and a colleague, Prashant Padmanabhan. Welcome to EBC learning. Prashant.

Prashant Padmanabhan: Thank you Charu.

Charu Mathur: So today Prashant will be discussing with us the Sabarimala case. He is the advocate-on-record for the main petition which came before the five-judges Bench. He was there again opposing the review petition and he is still there before the nine-judge Bench.

So we will start with Prashant. Prashant what is Sabarimala? What does it mean—Sabarimala?

Prashant Padmanabhan: The legend behind Sabarimala is that most people believe lord Ayyappa. He took human form and he lived as the son of Pandalam Raja and at a young age he abdicated his kingdom and went to the shrine called Sabarimala. And it is popularly believed that he is in the form of Naishtika Brahmachari.

Charu Mathur: Ok. Naishtica Brahmachari means he is…

Prashant Padmanabhan: He is permanent celibate.

Charu Mathur: Ok. And Sabarimala—mala means mountain.

Prashant Padmanabhan: Yes.

Charu Mathur: And Sabri is the name of a hill.

Prashant Padmanabhan: Sabri is that whom you can find in the Ramayana.

Charu Mathur: Ok.

Prashant Padmanabhan: The pious lady who has offered fruits when Rama came there.

Charu Mathur: Sabri ke Ber.

Prashant Padmanabhan: So hill is in the name of a woman.

Charu Mathur: Ok

Prashant Padmanabhan: And like it is surprising that women are like—there is a custom of preventing women of a certain age there.

Charu Mathur: Right.

Prashant Padmanabhan: But lot of people believe that since lord Ayyappa is in the form of celibate, women of certain age should not go there.

Charu Mathur: Right.

Prashant Padmanabhan: That is how they claim. Some believers claim. I was for two women who have entered Sabarimalai.eone is Bindu Ammini and another name is Kanakadurga.

Charu Mathur: Ok.

Prashant Padmanabhan: As far as Bindu is concerned her belief is that this deity at Sabarimala is Dharma Shasta.

Charu Mathur: What does that mean?

Prashant Padmanabhan: Dharma Shasta is a God in Hinduism. Even the legend of lord Ayyappa says that Ayyappa went there and then he merged with the God Shasta. So this Bindu’s belief is that Dharma Shasta is having two wives and he is a tribal God. So she believes that there is no harm if women go there.

Charu Mathur: Ok.

Prashant Padmanabhan: Actually there are some other women like devotees like Reshma and Shanila. They are all hindus.

Charu Mathur: Ok.

Prashant Padmanabhan: Some of them believe that our physiological condition does not affect even if you are worshipping Ayyappa in the form of Naishtika brahmachari. Women of any age group visiting there does not make any difference. This woman for instance Reshma, she was doing this penance for around fourteen years.

Charu Mathur: Ok.

Prashant Padmanabhan: every year she used to keep herself pure during that period when Sabarimala used to open—wear that black colour dress and then she was very ambitious of visiting there. They all wanted this original judgment to remain.

Charu Mathur: Five judges' judgment?

Prashant Padmanabhan: Five judges' judgment.