Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan today said the state government will discuss with legal experts the Supreme Court's decision to review its September order that removed the ban on women of menstruating age from entering Sabarimala temple.
But Mr Vijayan stressed that the top court made it "very clear" that its September ruling that had allowed women of all ages to offer prayers at the temple has not been put on hold.
Ahead of the main pilgrim season to the hill shrine beginning next week, the state government had said it was duty-bound to implement any order the Supreme Court might give after considering the review petitions.
The Supreme Court today said it will hear as many as 49 review petitions challenging its September order on January 22 but refused to stay its early ruling that had allowed women in the age group of 10 to 50 enter the Sabarimala temple.
"Our job is to implement the order of the Supreme Court. The state government doesn't have an opinion on the entry of women of all ages to Sabarimala that is independent of what the Supreme Court says" Kerala Minister for Temple Affairs Kadakampally Surendran said.
When asked whether today's Supreme Court ruling is a relief to the state government he told reporters that "everything is a relief for the state government," and added that the state government will discuss the order "thoroughly" before making any detailed comment.
However, no woman under 50 years entered the temple since the top court order owing to massive protests by the devotees who want to keep a the decades-old tradition unchanged.
The BJP in Kerala that has been protesting against the entry of women of all ages to the Ayyappa temple welcomed the Supreme Court order. Party state unit chief PS Sreedharan Pillai said the state government should ensure no women under age 50 is allowed entry into the shine till the Supreme Court gives its final order.
He held that state government has "discretionary powers" to do that without elaborating any further.