New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday said that 2018 top court judgment permitting the entry of the women of all ages in Lord Ayyappa’s Sabarimala temple in Kerala was not the last word as the matter has been referred to a still larger bench of seven-judges, the Supreme Court on Friday declined to pass any order on a petitions seeking protection for the women going to the temple.
Observing that the 2018 judgment by a five-judge Constitution bench was not the last word as the matter has been referred to a larger 7-judge bench, Chief Justice S.A. Bobde heading the bench also comprising Justice B.R. Gavai and Justice Surya Kant declined to pass any order on the plea seeking police protection for entering the temple.
Declining to pass any order, the court said, “Some issues in this country become explosive and this is one of those issues.”
“We know there is no stay, the (2018) order should be complied with,” said CJI Bobde.
“This is an age old practice going on for thousands of years. Balance of conveniences requires that order should not be passed in your favour now. The matter is under reference and if it is ultimately decided in your favour, we will protect you”, the court said.
The court said this on two petition filed by Rehana Fathima, Bindu Ammini and others, seeking police protection for entering the temple, which is open to the pilgrims only for a shorter duration during a year.
As senior counsel Indira Jaisinh told the court that there was a dissenting judgment by two judges in the reference order of November 14, 2019, CJI Bobde said that “one judge’s judgment is not weightier than that of the other”.
At this Jaisinh urged the court that in that case the petitions pending before the court seeking the reconsideration of 2018 judgment should be heard at the earliest.
CJI Bobde said that earliest could only be after a 7-judge Constitution bench answers the reference (made on November 14, 2019). The Supreme Court by its December 14 verdict had referred to a 7-judge Constitution bench a batch of petitions seeking the reconsideration of its 2018 judgment permitting the entry of menstruating women in the age group 10 to 50 years in Lord Ayyappa’s Sabarimalsa temple.