The Supreme Court on Tuesday consider a batch 48 petitions seeking review of its September 28 verdict allowing entry of women of all age groups into the Sabarimala temple in Kerala.
On September 28, a five-judge constitution bench headed by then Chief Justice Dipak Misra, in its 4:1 verdict, had paved the way for entry of women of all ages into the Sabarimala temple saying that the ban amounted to “gender discrimination”.
On Monday, the petitions will be taken up for consideration in-chamber by a bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices RF Nariman, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra.
Three separate petitions seeking review of the verdict are also slated to come up for hearing in the open court before a bench comprising CJI Gogoi and Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and KM Joseph.
Amid protests after the verdict, the Supreme Court on October 9 declined an urgent hearing on the review plea filed by an association which had contended that the five-judge Constitution bench's verdict lifting the ban was "absolutely untenable and irrational".
Later, the apex court had said it would consider the review petitions on November 13.
A plea filed by National Ayyappa Devotees Association (NADA), which has sought review of the verdict, had said "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".
Kerala has witnessed widespread protests by devotees after the state government made it clear that it was bound to implement the top court’s verdict on the entry of women of all ages into the temple. The shrine had witnessed a high drama after around a dozen women in the 10-50 age group were prevented by protesting devotees from entering it after the temple doors were opened for monthly pujas between October 17 and 22.
The temple will again be opened on November 17 the three-month-long ‘Mandalam-Makaravilakku’ festival, when VN Vasudevan Namboothiri, a native of Palakkad district, who was elected as the new ‘melshanthi’ (chief priest) of the Lord Ayyappa Temple in Sabarimala for the next one year, will take charge. Namboothiri is currently serving as the priest of an Ayyappa temple in Bengaluru.
(With PTI inputs)