The Supreme Court on Thursday referred the issue of entry of women into Sabarimala temple and other religious places to a larger seven-judge bench.
The Supreme Court in a 3:2 verdict referred the Sabarimala issue to a larger bench.
Justices R.F. Nariman and D.Y. Chandrachud dissented while CJI Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Indu Malhotra and A.M. Khanwilkar were in favour of referring the matter to a larger bench.
However, there is no stay on the September 28, 2018 judgement which lifted the ban on the entry of women aged between 10 and 50 in the temple.
According to this order, women of all ages can visit the shrine till a larger bench decides this issue.
The CJI observed that restrictions on women to enter religious places is not restricted to Sabarimala alone and is prevalent in other religions also. Hence, the apex court should evolve a common policy on entry of women into religious places like Sabarimala, he added, referring to restrictions on entry of women into mosques.
However, Justice Nariman said that the majority judgement cannot be used to impinge on the religious rights of the minorities. He opposed clubbing all the cases of the Muslim and Parsi women's entry into their places of worship. Justice was of the same view as Justice Nariman.
The Supreme Court by a majority 4:1 judgment had in September last year permitted the entry of women of all ages to the Sabarimala temple on the ground that ‘devotion cannot be subjected to gender discrimination’ and that the temple could not claim any exemption from the rituals and practices in other places of worship as it is managed by the same administrative set-up that ran the other temples.
Unlike other temples in Kerala, Sabarimala gives access to all those who believe in Lord Ayyappa and the practices followed in the temple. Sabarimala is the only temple which allows entry to non-Hindus and secularism is basic to its doctrine.
In Sabarimala, Lord Ayyappa is perceived as an eternal bachelor who does not wish to be in the company of women of reproductive age.
(With IANS inputs)