The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused early hearing of petitions seeking a review of its September 28 verdict allowing women of all ages entry into Kerala’s Sabarimala temple, LiveLaw reported.
Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said the temple opens only for 24 hours between November 5 and November 6 and questioned the rush. He added that all the petitions will be heard subsequently, after Diwali, as the Supreme Court has already listed review petitions challenging the entry of women into the temple for November 13.
Women of menstruating age have traditionally not been allowed into the temple, but a Supreme Court order on September 28 put an end to the restriction. Multiple petitions were filed seeking a review of the court’s order that allowed women of all ages into the temple.
The temple opened earlier this month for the first time following the verdict. However, no women between the ages of 10 and 50 were allowed into the temple. Almost a dozen women tried to enter the temple during this period but were stopped by protestors.
Several religious outfits have been protesting against the court’s order. State units of the Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party have also opposed the Supreme Court order. The state government had said it would implement the order, but was unable to do so.
The police have arrested over 3,557 people and registered 531 cases in connection with the violence that erupted after the judgement. At least 400 people who took part in the protests are yet to be arrested and another 350 are said to be absconding.
When the temple opens for a day on November 5 for rituals, and security is expected to be tightened around it and in the adjoining areas to prevent further protests, The Hindu reported on Monday. Around 700 police officers will be deployed at Sabarimala.
The temple will then open for Mandala Pooja Mahotsavam on November 16 and remain open till December 27. It again re-opens for Makaravilakku Mahotsavam on December 30 and closes on January 20. More than 24,000 police personnel are expected to be deployed in four phases during the Mandala pooja and Makaravilakku season to ensure women devotees can trek safely to the hill shrine.
The Kerala police have requested five states – Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana – to send at least 100 police personnel each to assist it during that period.