The Supreme Court on Friday said the Sabarimala matter was “very emotive” and declined to pass any order on the pleas by two women who had sought safe entry into the Ayyappa shrine in Kerala, PTI reported. Chief Justice of India SA Bobde said he would set up a seven-judge bench to reconsider a previous judgement at the earliest.

Two women, Bindu Ammini and Rehana Fathima, had moved the top court seeking a direction to the Kerala government to ensure police protection for women trying to enter the Sabarimala temple.

A bench headed by Bobde said it did not want the situation to become “explosive”. The bench said the “balance of convenience” required that no orders are passed in the matter for now, until the larger bench hears it.

“This is an age-old practice going on for thousands of years,” Bobde said. “Balance of conveniences requires that order should not be passed in your favour now. The matter is under reference and if it is ultimately decided in your favour, we will protect you. The situation at moment is explosive. We don’t want any violence.”

Bobde said the bench was not barring the women to enter the shrine, but it was not looking to pass any order either. “If she can go and pray, we don’t have a problem,” he said, clarifying that there was no stay on the 2018 judgement.

Police protection for Bindu Ammini will continue to be in place, the court said.

On September 28, 2018, a five-judge Constitution Bench, which included former Chief Justice Dipak Misra, had allowed women of all ages to enter the Ayyappa temple, leading to massive protests. Only a handful of women managed to enter the shrine. On November 14, a five-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court had ruled, in a 3:2 verdict, that a larger bench should again consider the matter of the entry of women of all ages into Kerala’s Sabarimala temple.