The Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to hear in open court a batch of 49 review petitions asking it to revisit its September 28 judgment permitting the entry of women of all ages into Kerala’s Sabarimala temple, ANI reported. Prior to this, women between the ages of 10 and 50 were not permitted to enter the shrine. The court also clarified that there is no stay on its judgement.
The five-judge Constitution bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices RF Nariman, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra, which delivered the Sabarimala judgement, scheduled the next hearing for January 22. The petitions rely heavily on Malhotra’s contention in her judgement – the sole dissenting opinion – that “constitutional parameters of rationality cannot be blindly applied to matters of faith”, Live Law reported.
Earlier on Tuesday, the top court also deferred hearing fresh writ petitions in the matter, Bar & Bench reported.
On the two occasions the temple has opened to devotees since the order, women between the ages of 10 and 50 were unable to enter the shrine due to massive protests. The shrine is set to reopen for the Mandala pooja Mahotsavam on Friday and will close on December 27.
The state Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party have condemned the Supreme Court order, while the ruling Left Democratic Front government has attempted to implement the ruling amid protests. BJP state President Sreedharan Pillai is currently on a rath yatra to “protect” temple tradition.