The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to grant urgent hearing to a contempt plea against the chief priest of the Sabarimala temple for closing the shrine temporarily following the entry of two young women on Wednesday.
A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice S K Kaul said it had already listed the Sabarimala review petitions for hearing on January 22.
“We cannot constitute a separate bench for hearing the contempt petition,” the bench said, adding that the contempt plea will be heard on January 22 along with pending review petitions.
Advocate P V Dinesh, appearing for the petitioners, told the bench that the authorities closed the shrine on Wednesday for “purification” rituals after the women entered it.
The shrine dedicated to Lord Ayyappa does not allow entry to women above 10 and below 50 years age.
On September 28, 2017, the apex court struck this down and allowed entry to women of all age groups into the temple. This led to widespread protests in Kerala, and the priest had said that he would be forced to abide by the temple customs and close the shrine if the customs were violated.
Following this, two women approached the court with the contempt plea in November last year.