The apex court has agreed to relook the 49 petitions and reconsider its judgment of repealing the age-old ban on the entry of women in the 10-50 years age group into Sabarimala temple but simultaneously it has refused to stay on the order till then.
The verdict given on September 28, sparked a controversy and initiated a debate questioning whether it lies within the court’s capacity to interfere in religious traditions.
This issue set off mass protests and over 3,700 persons have been arrested so far and 546 cases have been registered against various people for violence during protests across the state. The chief ‘thantri’ (priest) has threatened to close the temple doors if any woman in the banned age group attempts to enter the Ayyappa shrine.
All the petitions will be heard in open court on January 22 before an appropriate bench led by CJI Ranjan Gogoi who has replaced Justice Dipak Mishra on October 2.
Justice Dipak Mishra led-bench by 4-1, repealed the ban on the entry of women in the age group 10-50 by dismissing the argument of a pro-ban group that deity, being a naistik Brahmachari’ (eternal celibate) is not exposed to the vicinity of women in the menstruating age. Justice Misra, Nariman, Khanwilkar, and Chandrachud were on the support of quashing the ban , whereas Justice Malhotra, the only woman in the bench supported the religious practice of banning the women of menstruating age from entering the temple.