Supreme Court To Review Sabarimala Temple Verdict In Open Court On January 22

The Supreme Court will review its own order in open court that had ended the Kerala Sabarimala temple’s ban on women of menstrual age. Refusing to keep its decision on hold, the court said it would hear 49 petitions challenging the ruling on January 22.

On September 28, a five-judge constitution bench headed by then Chief Justice Dipak Misra had ruled that women of all ages must be allowed into the renowned temple, ending a centuries-old ban on women and girls between 10 and 50 years.

“Restrictions can’t be treated as essential religious practice,” the top court had said in a majority four-one judgement, calling the custom “almost like untouchability”.

Since that order, however, no woman below 50 has made it to the 800-year-old shrine because of massive protests by devotees who call the Supreme Court decision an insult to Sabarimala’s deity Lord Ayyappa, believed to be celibate.

The court had on October 9 declined an urgent hearing on the challenge by an association which called the Sabarimala order “absolutely untenable, irrational and perverse”. The National Ayyappa Devotees Association (NADA) argued that “the notion that the judgment is revolutionary, one which removes the stigma or the concept of dirt or pollution associated with menstruation is unfounded.”

Last month, when Sabarimala opened for the first time after the landmark ruling, more than a dozen women tried to access the shrine but failed, even with heavy police escort, to come anywhere near it.

The temple, located on the top of a hill, remains open only 127 days in a year and can be accessed through a forest.

The Travancore Devaswom Board, which runs the temple, had told the court that it should stay away from sitting in judgment on sensitive religious matters.

“SC has clearly said that its verdict allowing entry of women between age groups 10-50 yrs to #SabarimalaTemple stands. Review petitions will be heard on Jan 22, after the ‘Makaravilakku’ season ends on Jan 21. Govt will discuss with legal experts & move forward,” ANI quoted Kerala CM as saying.

BJP Kerala Gen Secy K. Surendran claimed it as an initial victory. “It’s an initial victory of Lord Ayappa devotees. We are hopeful of overcoming the SC verdict when review petitions are heard. We will continue our fight till the end,” BJP Kerala Gen Secy K. Surendran told the media agency on SC orders.

Liked it? Take a second to support The TMC Desk on Patreon!