The Supreme Court Friday directed the Kerala government to provide “round the clock” security to two women, Kanakadurga and Bindu, who had entered the Sabarimala temple after the court lifted the age restriction on entry of women to the hill shrine.
The two women’s visit to the hill shrine on January 2 sparked protests across Kerala. Earlier this week, Kanakadurga claimed she had been assaulted by her mother-in-law for entering the shrine in violation of its traditions.
On Thursday, Kanakadurga and Bindu approached the Supreme Court, seeking 24×7 protection. They also sought protection for all women who wanted to enter the shrine and sought action against the priest.
A bench of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justices L Nageswara Rao and Dinesh Maheshwari said: “Having heard Ms Indira Jaising, Senior Counsel appearing for the petitioners and Shri Vijay Hansaria, learned Senior Counsel appearing for the State of Kerala, we deem it appropriate to close this writ petition at this stage by directing the State of Kerala to provide adequate/full security to petitioner Nos. 1 and 2 herein which would be provided to the petitioners round the clock,” the bench ordered.
It declined to go into other contentions raised by the petitioners. “Beyond the above, we do not consider it necessary to go into any of the other issues raised in the present writ petition,” it said.
As soon as the court took up the plea, advocate Mathew Nedumpara, who has filed a review petition on behalf of an association of devotees, said there was no urgency in the matter since the shrine was about to close after the annual pilgrimage.
The judges discussed the matter and thereafter the CJI said the court would ask the state to provide protection and not go into any other contention.
Hansaria told the bench that the state had been providing security to them. He also submitted that 51 more women in the age group 10-50 had entered the shrine during the current season. But the court dismissed it, saying “51 or 501, how does it matter?”.
Hansaria said that the Kerala High Court had appointed a monitoring committee and was trying to find out why the women were given protection. But the bench told him: “You have made your point and we are not inclined to entertain it any further.”
Jaising said she was fine with the order but there were some other issues and the requested the court to tag the plea with the review petitions. But the bench rejected it: “The prayer of the learned counsel for the petitioners to tag the present writ petition with the review petitions… is rejected.”