Sabarimala Temple Verdict Review Petition: The review petition is to be held on 22nd January.
The Supreme Court today agreed to review its order ending the ban on women of menstrual age at the Sabarimala temple in Kerala. The batch of petitions seeking the recall of the constitution bench verdict allowing the entry of women in the age group of 10 to 50 years at Lord Ayyappa's temple at Sabarimala will be heard in an open court. The review petition is to be held on 22nd January.
A batch of 48 petitions seeking review of the judgment would be taken up for consideration in-chamber by a bench of Chief Justice Gogoi and justices RF Nariman, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra.
On September 28, a five-judge constitution bench headed by then Chief Justice Dipak Misra, in its 4:1 verdict, had paved the way for entry of women of all ages into the Sabarimala Temple saying the ban amounted to gender discrimination.
Here are the Live Updates of the big story:
The Kerala High Court Tuesday directed the Travancore Devaswom Board, which manages the Lord Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala, to give an explanation by next week on the violent incidents there after the shrine was opened for a special pooja last week.
Noted Journalist N Ram said those who celebrated the entry of women into the Shani Shingnapur temple in Maharashtra were now against allowing women of all ages at the Lord Ayyappa hill shrine at Sabarimala, reported PTI.
Kerala's BJP General Secretary K Surendran said:
Padmaja S Menon, a women's rights activist, on the Supreme Court orders open court hearing in all 49 review petitions in Sabarimala temple case:
• We, the Ayyappa devotees, are happy as well as unhappy
• We are happy because the Supreme Court has decided to take up the review petition in the open court on January 22.
• That means we have the chance to explain and to argue and to bring to the notice, the points, apprehension of the devotees.
Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan shared his opinion on the review petition. Supreme Court has clearly said that its verdict allowing entry of women between age groups 10-50 years to Sabarimala Temple stands. Review petitions will be heard on January 22, after the 'Makaravilakku' season ends on January 21. Government will discuss with legal experts and move forward, he said.
With the main pilgrimage season is just days away, Kerala government has decided to make Nilakkal, around 24 km from Pamba, the only base camp for the pilgrims.
Sabarimala temple is 4km further uphill climb from Pamba, which earlier was the final base camp. The vehicles of pilgrims will now be stopped at Nilakkal and devotees will have to either take a state transport corporation bus or walk up to the shrine.
Sabarimala temple will open for its main pilgrimage season when lakhs of devotees are expected to visit the hill shrine on November 16. This is the third time the temple will be opening after Supreme Court's historic verdict that allowed women of all ages to offer prayers at the shrine.
More than 500 women aged between 10 and 50 have registered with the online booking system for pilgrims who want to visit Sabarimala temple. However, the identities of the women, who are among three lakh people who have expressed interest, cannot be verified, Kerala Police, which runs the system, said.
The online booking system, also known as virtual queue, helps devotees reserve their 'darshan' timings at the hill shrine.
Activist Rahul Easwar on Twitter said he will "Save Sabarimala"
He tweeted, "There is NO STAY. From Supreme Court. But.. we will Resist all Feminists intruding into Sabarimala and all Cultural invasion."
The temple remains open only for 127 days in a year and can be accessed through a forest.
The Sabarimala protests have triggered a political row with the BJP and the Congress both siding with devotees and targeting the Left government, which had pledged to follow the court order.
The Travancore Devaswom Board, which runs the over 800-year-old Lord Ayyappa temple, had told the court that the ban was not anti-women and is voluntarily accepted by them. The board had also urged the top court to steer clear of sitting in judgment on sensitive religious matters.
Even since the top court verdict lifting the ban, no woman below 50 has made it to the shrine because of massive protests by devotees who have defied the Supreme Court. More than a dozen women tried to access the shrine but failed, even with heavy police escort, to come anywhere near the courtyard of the shrine.
Besides the association, several other petitions, including one by the Nair Service Society (NSS), have been filed against the top court verdict.
The NSS had said in the plea that as the deity is a 'Naistika Brahmachari', females below the age of 10 and after the age of 50 years are eligible to worship him and there is no practice of excluding worship by females.
A plea filed by the National Ayyappa Devotees Association (NADA), which has sought review of the verdict, had said, "The notion that the judgment under review is revolutionary, one which removes the stigma or the concept of dirt or pollution associated with menstruation, is unfounded."
"It is a judgment welcomed by hypocrites who were aspiring for media headlines. On the merits of the case, as well, the said judgment is absolutely untenable and irrational, if not perverse," it had said.
The top court had on October 9 declined an urgent hearing on the review plea filed by an association which had contended that the five-judge Constitution bench's verdict lifting the ban was "absolutely untenable and irrational".
A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said a five-judge bench heard the review petitions at 3 pm today.
"Writ petitions will be heard after the orders in the review petitions," the bench, also comprising justices SK Kaul and KM Joseph, had said.
The bench stated this while hearing the three fresh petitions filed by G Vijaya Kumar, S Jaya Rajkumar and Shailaja Vijayan challenging its September 28 verdict.
The Supreme Court earlier today made it clear that fresh pleas related to the Sabarimala Temple will be heard only after it decides the earlier petitions seeking review of the judgment allowing entry of women of all age groups into the shrine in Kerala.