New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday made it clear that fresh pleas relating to the Sabarimala Temple will be heard only after it decides the earlier petitions seeking review of the judgement allowing entry of women of all age groups into the shrine in Kerala. Also Read - Deadlock Continues as Centre-farmers Talks Remain Inconclusive, Next Meet on Jan 19
If the apex court decides to review the verdict then the three fresh petitions will be heard along with the review petitions. But, if the court rejects the review petitions then the fresh petitions will be heard independently on merit. Also Read - Breaking News January 15 Updates
The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear on Tuesday a batch of petitions seeking a review of its September 28 verdict allowing entry of women of all age groups into the Sabarimala temple in Kerala. The crucial hearing comes four days before the hill shrine opens its doors for a three-month period. Also Read - Farmers Protest: BKU Leader Recuses From SC Panel, 9th Round of Talks With Centre Today | Key Points
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 that the ban amounted to gender discrimination.
A batch of 48 petitions seeking review of the judgement would be taken up for consideration in-chamber by a bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices R F Nariman, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra.
Besides these pleas, three separate petitions seeking review of the verdict are also slated to come up for hearing in the open court before a bench comprising CJI Gogoi and Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and K M Joseph.
Despite the Supreme Court’s order, protesting devotees stonewalled women of menstruating ages from entering the Lord Ayyappa temple. They stopped more than a dozen women aged between 10 and 50 years from visiting the hill shrine.
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”.
Later, the court had said that it would consider the review pleas on November 13.
A plea filed by National Ayyappa Devotees Association (NADA), which has sought review of the verdict, had said that “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”.
Besides the Association, several other petitions including one by Nair Service Society (NSS), have been filed against the apex 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.
“Hence, the delay or wait for 40 years to worship cannot be considered as exclusionary and it is an error of law on the face of the judgement,” the plea had said.
Meanwhile, the Kerala government is expected to convene an all-party meeting to discuss various matters relating to the Sabarimala temple, ahead of the annual pilgrim season commencing this week.
“We are thinking of having an all-party meeting. We have not taken a final decision yet. There are plans…,” Devaswom Minister Kadakkampally Surendran told reporters.
Surendran said a decision on the all-party meeting would be taken based on the outcome of the court hearing.