Religion

Sabarimala: SC declines to pass any order for safe entry of women

Kerala govt. seeks more clarity on issue of women’s entry into Sabarimala temple

The Supreme Court declined to pass any order on the pleas by two women activists seeking a direction to the Kerala Government to ensure safe entry of women in the Sabarimala temple under police protection.

The top court said the issue was very emotive and it did not want the situation to become explosive.

A bench, headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde, said the balance of convenience required that no orders are passed in the mater today as the issue had already been referred to a seven-judge bench.

The apex court said, it would endeavour to constitute the larger bench at the earliest to hear the matter.

The bench, also comprising Justices B R Gavai and Surya Kant, said though there was no stay on the September 28, 2018 judgment allowing entry of women of all ages into the shrine, and it is equally true that it is not final.

The bench said the pleas seeking review of December last year verdict would be listed at the earliest after the seven-judge bench renders its decision on the reference made to it.

It said it would not pass any orders till the decision is given by the larger bench and there is no problem if women are happily welcomed in the temple to pray.

On November 14, a five-judge Constitution bench headed by the then CJI Ranjan Gogoi, in a 3:2 majority verdict, had referred the pleas seeking a review of its historic 2018 judgment to a seven-judge bench, along with other contentious issues of alleged discrimination against Muslim and Parsi women.

In September 2018, a five-judge Constitution bench had, by a majority 4:1 verdict, allowed girls and women of all ages to visit the Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala, saying discrimination on physiological grounds was violative of the fundamental rights as enshrined in the Constitution such as the right to equality.

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