There will be no urgent hearing of a plea seeking review of the judgment that allowed women of all ages into Kerala's Sabarimala Temple, the Supreme Court said today. "It will be listed in due course," a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said.
The National Ayyappa Devotees Association and the Nair Service Society among others had approached the top court seeking the recall of the verdict which they claimed was "absolutely untenable and irrational".
The petitioners told the court that the Lord Ayyappa temple will open next week and therefore, a temporary order was needed to stop women from entering the shrine.
"Faith cannot be judged by scientific or rationale reasons or logic," the National Ayyappa Devotees Association in its petition said.
The petition will be taken up after the Dussehra vacation. It will anyway be heard in chamber and not in open court, the bench said.
Justice Ranjan Gogoi, who became the 46th Chief Justice of India last week, while issuing a new roster had clarified that "no urgent mentioning of cases will be allowed" till certain "parameters" are fixed for it.
"We will work out the parameters then we will see as to how mentioning will be done... If somebody is going to be hanged tomorrow, then we can understand (urgency)", Chief Justice Gogoi said.
The Lord Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala has traditionally barred all women of menstruating age. The temple's rule followed the still widely-held belief in India that menstruating women are "impure". The custom in the temple was challenged by a clutch of petitioners who argued that women cannot be denied the constitutional right to worship.
In a four-one majority verdict last month, the top court had revoked restrictions on women entering the temple following a 20-year legal battle, ruling that patriarchy cannot be allowed to trump faith.
The Kerala government and the Travancore Devaswom Board, which runs the shrine, accepted the verdict. Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said all necessary arrangements will be made for the safety and comfort of women pilgrims.
Congress leaders in the state have slammed the government for hurting the sentiments of Ayyappa devotees by supporting the verdict. Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala said the party stands its ground on not allowing women of mentruating age into Sabarimala.
The BJP's Kerala unit also organised protests and signature campaigns against the verdict.
The national leadership of both the BJP and the Congress had welcomed the verdict.
The chief minister criticised those agitating against his government's move to implement the Supreme Court verdict saying "deliberate" efforts were being made to destroy the state's unity and secular fabric.
Thomas Isaac, Kerala's Finance Minister, said that the BJP threatens bloodshed in Kerala if the Supreme Court's verdict is implemented. "If they are so keen why do they simply get Central government to enact a new legislation? No, they won't. They have a hidden agenda," he said.