The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to review its September 28 verdict allowing entry of women of all ages into Kerala's famous Sabarimala Temple. The Supreme Court will hear all the 49 petitions challenging the judgment in an open court on January 22.
Hearing the review petitions, a five-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, however, refused to stay the verdict that allowed women to enter into the Lord Ayyappa temple.
"All the Review Petitions along with all pending applications will be heard in Open Court on January 22, 2019, before the appropriate Bench. We make it clear that there is no stay of the judgment and order of this Court dated September 28, 2018...," the top court order said.
On September 28, a five-judge constitution bench headed by then Chief Justice Dipak Misra had removed the ban on the entry of women of menstruating age into the Lord Ayyappa Shrine in Sabarimala. In its 4:1 verdict, the apex court had said that the ban amounted to gender discrimination.
Several organisations, including the National Ayyappa Devotees Association (NADA), had sought the review of the order and described the verdict untenable and irrational.
“The notion that the judgment under review is revolutionary, one which removes the stigma or the concept of dirt or pollution associated with menstruation is unfounded. It is a judgment welcomed by hypocrites who were aspiring for media headlines. On the merits of the case, as well, the said judgment is absolutely untenable and irrational, if not perverse,” the NADA had said.
However, despite the Supreme Court order, no woman between the age group of 11-50 could enter the temple due to violent protests by the so-called devotees. Over a dozen women, including activists and journalists, tried to enter the shrine but were not allowed to go near the temple despite heavy police security.