The Supreme Court on Friday declined to pass any order on the pleas by two women activists seeking a direction to the Kerala government to ensure safe entry of women in the Sabarimala temple under police protection.
The top court said the issue was "very emotive" and it did not want the situation to become "explosive".
A bench, headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde, said the "balance of convenience" required that no orders are passed in the mater today as the issue had already been referred to a seven-judge bench.
“It is a practice that has been going on for thousands of years. The balance of convenience requires that no orders should be passed in your favour now. If the matter, which has been referred, is found in your favour, we will certainly pass orders that you seek" CJI Bobde told Senior Advocates Colin Gonsalves and Indira Jaising, who appeared for petitioners Rehna Fathima and Bindu Ammini respectively.
The apex court said it would endeavour to constitute the larger bench at the earliest to hear the matter.
The bench, also comprising Justices B R Gavai and Surya Kant, said though there was no stay on the September 28, 2018, judgment allowing entry of women of all ages into the shrine, "but it is equally true that it is not final".
Indira Jaising who appeared for Rehana Fathima also asked the court if there was a stay on the September 28, 2018 judgement which overturned the ban on the entry of women between 10-15 age group into the temple.
To this the CJI responded that there was no stay and that the law was in petitioners’ favour. He added that the court was declining relief due to the emotive nature of the issue.
"We are not saying don't allow her to go in, but we are not looking to pass any order right now. If she can go and pray, we don't have a problem. We also get your point that a court would pass such order. However we're using our discretion and will not be passing any order", remarked the CJI.