The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected urgent hearing on a plea seeking review of its verdict allowing women of all ages into Sabarimala temple. A bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph had considered the submission of Shylaja Vijayan, president, National Ayyappa Devotees Association through Mathews J Nedumpara, which contended that the five-judge Constitution bench verdict lifting the ban was “absolutely untenable and irrational”.
“It will be listed in due court,” the bench said, adding that in any case, the review petition will be heard in chamber and not in open court.
Organisations including, the Nair Service Society (NSS) and Delhi-based Chetana Conscience of Women had also filed review petitions in the Supreme Court on Monday.
The NSS, in its petition, said the judgment suffered from an error as it looked at the question of facts related to the temple and its customs when it should have restricted itself to questions of law.
“The judgment of the Hon’ble Supreme Court proceeds on the foundation that the practice is derogatory to women,” it said, adding that “it is not derogatory since it is not linked to physiological occurrences but to the character of the deity”. It said the “restriction” is on the deity himself, since he is in a state of Naishtika Brahmachari (eternal celibate).
Following mounting protests by devotees of Lord Ayyappa across Kerala, both the ruling CPI(M) and opposition Congress Saturday wanted a dialogue with the people concerned before implementing the Supreme Court verdict on entry of women of all ages into the Sabarimala Lord Ayyappa Temple.
A section of Ayyappa devotees had also staged a dharna Saturday in front of the TDB headquarters in Thiruvananthapuram, which manages the hill shrine.
On September 28, a five-judge constitution bench headed by then Chief Justice Dipak Misra, had in its 4:1 verdict, said banning the entry of women into the shrine is gender discrimination and that the practice violates rights of Hindu women.