New Delhi: A day after a five-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court referred review pleas against its September 2018 judgement lifting ban on entry of women in the age group of 10-50 in Kerala’s Sabarimala shrine, to a larger seven-judge bench, the state’s temple affairs minister announced that the ruling Left government had no plans to give security to women planning to go there.
Notably, the ‘announcement’ comes just a day before the temple opens its gates for pilgrimage season for the next three months.
On Friday, speaking at a press conference in state capital Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran said that while the state government was all for peace, it was against women activists ‘gatecrashing’ the temple. “It is proper to maintain status quo at the temple. It is not a place for activism,” the minister said.
“Earlier also, the government has not taken women devotees to Sabarimala, neither will we in future. If anyone wants to go, they can approach courts in this regard” he added.
The remark was in response to women activist Trupti Desai’s proposed visit to temple on November 16. She has requested the Kerala Police to escort her to inner sanctorum of the temple. She had tried to visit the shrine last year as well, but could not go out of the Kochi airport due to huge protests outside it against her visit.
Violence had broken out across the state last year after the apex court’s order and then in January, when two women were finally able to enter the shrine.
Yesterday, the top court had sent 65 review petitions to a larger bench by a 3:2 majority. The bench comprised Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justices AM Khanwailkar, Indu Malhotra, DY Chandrachud and RF Nariman, the latter two being the dissenters. The four Justices were also on the bench, led by then-Chief Justice Dipak Misra, that delivered the original verdict on September 28, 2018; Justice Malhotra was the only dissenter back then.
The Supreme Court, had, however, refused to put a stay on the September 28 judgement.