A nine-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court will begin hearing, from January 13, the issue of allowing entry of women of all ages in Kerala's Sabarimala temple, clubbed with the issues of entry of women in Muslim and Parsi places of worship.
The apex court issued notice on Monday in connection with the listing of the pleas filed by the Indian Young Lawyers Association seeking review of the court's 2018 judgement allowing women and girls of all ages to enter the Sabarimala temple. The notice said: "Take notice that the following matters will be listed for hearing before a Nine Judges Constitution Bench commencing from Monday the 13th January, 2020."
A five-judge bench had, in a 3:2 majority verdict on November 14, referred to a seven-judge bench the pleas seeking review of the 2018 judgement. The top court clubbed the restrictions faced by Muslim women in connection with the entry into mosques and dargahs and Parsi women, married to non-Parsi men, being discriminated from entering the Fire Temple.
The majority verdict noted that it is essential to evolve a judicial policy to do "substantial and complete justice".
The court, in the majority judgement, observed that the issues surrounding the constitutional validity of religious practices, which discriminate against women specifically in connection with their entry into a place of worship were not limited to the Sabarimala temple case.
'Hope Lord Ayyappa will get justice: Sabarimala Council'
The All India Sabarimala Action Council (AISAC) welcomed on Monday the Supreme Court's decision to constitute a nine-judge Constitution bench and hear the review petitions against womenâ€™s entry.
"We are hopeful that the traditions of the temple that prevented entry of women of menstruating age (10-50 years) will be protected and the presiding deity, Ayyappa, will get justice," council general secretary S J R Kumar told PTI.
V Muraleedharan visits temple
Union minister V Muraleedharan on Monday visited the Sabarimala temple and lauded the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) for the well organised pilgrimage season.
The minister also praised the services of Kerala police during the annual two-month-long pilgrimage season.
"The pilgrimage season this time is one of the best. I would like to congratulate the TDB (which manages the shrine) and various departments of the state government," Muraleedharan said in a release.
Also read: Sabarimala issue: The 7 questions that Supreme Court wants a larger bench to address