New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to stay its earlier order granting permission to women of all age groups to enter the Sabarimala temple in Kerala, but agreed to an open court hearing on January 22, 2019, over 48 petitions seeking review of its judgment by citing the recent violent protests.
A bench, headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, took up the review petitions “in-chamber’’ against the September 28 order lifting curbs on women’s entry into the temple and decided to club all applications with them.
The bench, including Justices R.F. Nariman, A.M. Khanwilkar, D.Y. Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra, said, “All the review petitions along with all pending applications will be heard in open court on January 22, 2019, before the appropriate bench.”
“We make it clear that there is no stay of the judgment and order of this court dated September 28,” the court said.
The Supreme Court also made it clear that fresh pleas related to the Sabarimala Temple will be heard only after it decides the earlier petitions seeking review of its judgment that allowed entry of women of all age groups into the shrine.
The bench said this while hearing three fresh petitions filed by G. Vijaya Kumar, S. Jaya Rajkumar and Shailaja Vijayan challenging the apex court’s September 28 verdict.
When a lawyer in the forenoon said that the apex court should hear the petitions in an open court, the bench said, “You are not fair to the bench. We do not want to say anything beyond this.” The top court had on October 9 declined an urgent hearing on a review plea that contended that the five-judge Constitution bench’s verdict lifting the ban on women’s entry was “absolutely untenable and irrational”.
On September 28, a five-judge constitution bench headed by then Chief Justice Dipak Misra, in its 4:1 verdict, had cleared the way for entry of women of all ages into the Sabarimala temple, saying that the ban on girls and women between the age of 10 and 50 years amounted to gender discrimination.
A plea filed by the National Ayyappa Devotees Association, 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.”