Know the Parties

1) Indian Young Lawyers Association (Petitioner)

The Association filed a PIL in 2006 that challenged the 1991 decision of the Kerala High Court; the court had upheld the religious custom that prohibited the entry of menstruating women inside the Sabarimala temple.

Ten years later, Mr Naushad Ahmed Khan, the President of Indian Young Lawyers Association, moved the Supreme Court in January 2016 to withdraw the PIL citing a threat to his life. The court, however, held that once a PIL is filed, it can’t be withdrawn at a party’s will.

Counsel: Mr R.P. Gupta


2) Travancore Devasom Board (Respondent)

The Board is the administering body of the Sabarimala temple. It is an autonomous body constituted under the Travancore Cochin Hindu Religious Institutions Act of 1950. The Act regulates the administration 1248 temples, including Sabarimala, in the State of Kerala.

The Board is against the entry of menstruating women into Sabarimala temple.

Counsel: Mr Abhishek Manu Singhvi


3) State of Kerala (Respondent)

The State of Kerala, by virtue of allocating funds for the maintenance of the Sabarimala temple, is a respondent in this case.

It has filed an affidavit supporting the entry of menstruating women inside the Sabarimala temple.

Counsel: Mr Jaideep Gupta


4) Pandalam Royal Family (Respondent)

It is believed that this royal family built the Sabarimala temple for Ayyappa.

Living members of the family believe that Ayyappa’s celibacy must be respected. Hence, they support excluding menstruating women from entering the temple.

Counsel: Mr K. Radhakrishnan


5) Chief Thanthri - Sabarimala Temple (Respondent)

The Chief Thanthri is the head priest of the Sabarimala temple.

He is opposed to the entry of menstruating women inside the Sabarimala. He says that the custom is necessary to respect the celibate status of Ayyappa.

Counsel: Mr V. Giri