The Supreme Court will pronounce its verdict on the review petitions against its September 28, 2018 order allowing entry of women of all age groups into the Sabarimala temple on Thursday.
The review petitions were being heard by a Constitution bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices RF Nariman, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra.
On September 28, last year, a five-judge Constitution bench, headed by then chief justice Dipak Misra, lifted the ban on the entry of women of menstrual age into the Sabarimala temple sparking widespread protests by Hindu groups across Kerala.
The five-judge Constitution Bench had junked the age-old tradition of the Lord Ayyappa temple by a majority verdict of 4:1.
“Right to worship is given to all devotees and there can be no discrimination on the basis of gender,” Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra had observed.
Justice Indu Malhotra who presented a dissenting opinion said, “the court should not interfere in matters of faith”.
The temple which opened its doors for a five-day monthly pooja on October 17 witnessed massive protests by various devotee groups and Hindu outfits against the Pinarayi Vijayan government’s decision to implement the apex court order without going for any review petition.
Though attempts had been made by some young women, including an activist, to enter the temple of the ‘Naishtik Brahmachari’, the eternally celibate deity, the devotees backed by priests stood their ground, saying they would not allow the tradition to be breached.
According to police sources, 12 women in the 10-50 age group were prevented from offering worship at the temple, since it opened for the monthly pooja, amid the protests last year.