Sabarimala Temple verdict Highlights: Review petitions transferred to larger bench
Sabarimala Temple Verdict, Supreme Court: During the hearing today, the court observed that restriction of women into religious places is not limited to Sabarimala temple and suggested examination of the review pleas by a seven-judge bench.
In 2018, a five-judge bench headed by then CJI Dipak Misra had delivered a landmark 4:1 ruling setting aside decades-old restrictions on the entry of women of menstrual age inside Sabarimala Temple. (Reuters/File)
Sabarimala Temple Verdict: A five-judge bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi Thursday referred the petitions seeking review of its previous judgment in the Sabarimala case to a larger bench by 3:2 majority. In its September 2018 ruling, the apex court had lifted a ban on menstruating women from entering the Sabarimala temple.
During the hearing today, Justice Gogoi, while reading the verdict on behalf of himself and Justices A M Khanwilkar and Indu Malhotra, said the restriction of women into religious places is not limited to Sabarimala temple and said a seven-judge bench will decide all such religious issues relating to the temple, entry of women in mosques and practice of female genital mutilation in the Dawoodi Bohra community. However, Justices R F Nariman, D Y Chandrachud gave dissenting verdict in the case.
The apex court, by a majority verdict of 4:1, on September 28, 2018, had lifted the ban that prevented women and girls between the age of 10 and 50 from entering the famous Ayyappa shrine in Kerala and held that the centuries-old Hindu religious practice was illegal and unconstitutional. Temple custodians argue that women of menstrual age are prohibited from offering prayers as the deity there, Ayyappa, is a celibate.
The Supreme Court today referred the petitions seeking review of its previous judgment in the Sabarimala case to a larger bench by 3:2 majority. Read in Bangla, Tamil and Malayalam here.
Some right-wing activists have alleged that the temple board changed its stand before the court under pressure from the state's CPI(M)-led LDF government.
The Supreme Court today will deliver its judgement on as many as 65 petitions -- including 56 review petitions and four fresh writ petitions and five transfer pleas -- which were filed after the verdict on Sabarimala sparked violent protests in Kerala.
A five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi had reserved its decision on February 6 after hearing various parties including those seeking re-consideration of the September 28, 2018 judgement. Other members of the bench are justices R F Nariman, A M Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra.
The five-judge constitution had heard the pleas in an open court and reserved its decision after hearing the parties, including Nair Service Society, Thantry of the temple, The Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) and the state government, in favour and against the review plea.
The TDB, which runs Sabarimala temple, had made a U-turn to support the Supreme Court's order allowing women of all ages to enter the shrine. The TDB had joined the Kerala government to oppose a batch of pleas seeking review of the historic verdict. The Board later asserted that its latest position was not due to any political pressure.