The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the Kerala government to frame a separate law on the administration of the Sabarimala temple, PTI reported. This came a week after a five-judge Constitution bench ruled that a larger bench should again consider the matter of the entry of women of all ages into the temple.

The Supreme Court had taken its decision last week after reviewing a number of petitions filed against its September 2018 verdict, which had removed traditional restrictions on women of menstruating age.

The top court’s bench, led by Justice NC Ramana, said on Wednesday that the draft legislation should be presented before it by the third week of January. The lawyer representing the Kerala government said that amendments to the law had been formed that would handle temples and their authorities. The Travancore Devaswom Board currently governs the Sabarimala temple.

The proposed legislation also provides for a one-third representation of women in the temple advisory committee, the lawyer said. The state said that at the moment it has proposed representation to women over 50 years old in the temple advisory panel. The state government also claimed that engaging women in the advisory committees was a part of its “liberal push”, according to India Today.

The court made the observations while hearing a 2011 plea on the matter of the Sabarimala temple’s administration. In August, the state government told the top court that it was planning to enact a separate law to deal with the administration of the Sabarimala temple.

The Kerala police on Tuesday stopped a 12-year-old girl from trekking to the Sabarimala Ayyappa temple after she arrived in the town of Pamba. The temple has been opened to devotees for the annual two-month pilgrimage season.

On Sunday, the police had turned back 10 women under the age of 50 who had arrived at the Sabarimala temple, though they claimed the women had decided to return of their own volition. The state government had said it would no longer provide protection to women entering the temple.

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