The Supreme Court has decided to consider all review petitons over Sabarimala women’s entry in the open court on January 22. The court on Monday came up with the order after considering 49 review petitions filed against its earlier order that allowed entry for women of all ages in Sabarimala. Four writ petitons will also be considered then.
However, the court made it clear that there will be no stay on its verdict which allowed entry of women of all age groups in the temple. The bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Rohinton Fali Nariman, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra considered the review petitions in their chambers at 3 pm.
Four writ petitions relating to Sabarimala temple were aslo listed for hearing today (Tuesday) by a bench comprising Chief Justice Gogoi and Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and KM Joseph. National Association of Ayyappa Devotees, Nair Service Society, and 17 other organisations had moved the review petition seeking recall of the September 28 verdict. The five-judge Constitution Bench headed by then Chief Justice Dipak Misra had junked the age-old tradition of the Lord Ayyappa temple by a majority verdict of 4:1.
The BJP that launched a rally last week from north Kerala’s Kasaragod to “protect” the traditions and rituals of the hill shrine will conclude its Rath Yathra and reach Pathanamthitta today. Thousands of people, who are supporting the top court’s order, are also expected to gather in Thiruvananthapuram.
The Supreme Court had observed that the ban on women in menstruating age group, whose presence at the Sabarimala temple was considered “impure”, violated their fundamental rights and constitutional guarantee of equality.
The review plea by the Nair Service Society (NSS), one of the petitioners, said “without holding that the questions raised related to matters of religion which are not within judicially manageable standards, the majority decision in substance has the effect of holding that the character of the deity can be altered based on individual faith and belief, in violation of the tenets of a particular religion and or religious sect”.
The petitioners had also alleged that the verdict has “legal errors” and the assumption of the temple practice being based on notions of menstrual impurity is “factually erroneous”.
The NSS had said in the plea that as the deity is a ‘Naistika Brahmachari’ or celibate, females below the age of 10 and after the age of 50 years are eligible to worship him and there is no practice of excluding worship by females. “Hence, the delay or wait for 40 years to worship cannot be considered as exclusionary and it is an error of law on the face of the judgement,” the plea said.