The Supreme Court on Thursday referred the Sabarimala case for review to a seven-judge bench in a ruling made by a five-judge bench led by CJI Gogoi. Justices Chandrachud and Nariman dissented, LiveLaw reports.
Justice Khanwilkar who had sided with the majority verdict in 2018 — allowing all women entry into the shrine — has in this ruling called for a review of the verdict.
The top court, however, said there is no stay on its order allowing women of all ages entry, according to NDTV.
“There is a seminal issue as to the power of the court to determine if the constitutional court can interfere in such integral parts of the religion,” he said, LiveLaw quoted.
The court said the entry of women into places of worship is not limited to the Sabarimala temple, it also involves entry of women into mosques, Bar&Bench quoted.
Gogoi said cases on female genital mutilation in the Dawoodi Ibrahim community, Muslim women’s entry to mosques and access to towers of silence for Parsi women who marry outside the community had all been referred to a larger bench before. The Sabarimala review has been tagged along with these to be heard by a larger bench, LiveLaw’s report said.
As many as 65 petitions ― including 56 review petitions and four fresh writ petitions and five transfer pleas ― were filed after the Supreme Court’s verdict sparked violent protests in Kerala.
The Kerala government has deployed over 10,000 security personnel in preparation for the Sabarimala season which will begin on Saturday, November 16, Mathrubhumi reports.
In its September 2018 judgement the top court had lifted the ban which prevented women and girls between the age of 10 and 50 from entering the shrine in Kerala. The court had called the ban illegal and unconstitutional.
A constitution bench had heard pleas and parties in favour and against a review of the verdict in an open court, including the Nair Service Society, the thantry of the temple, the Travancore Devaswom Board and the Kerala government.
A five-judge headed by CJI Gogoi—with RF Nariman, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra as members—had reserved its decision on February 6.