Supreme Court to hear Sabarimala review petitions from February 6
On Thursday, the Supreme Court announced that it would hear the review petitions against its earlier verdict pertaining to women's entry to the Sabarimala temple on February 6. Although the review petitions were initially slated to be heard in an open court on January 22, the hearing was deferred as Justice Indu Malhotra was on a medical leave. Here are the details.
As it stands, there are around 48 review petitions challenging the apex court's September 28 verdict that lifted an 800-year-old ban on the entry of women of menstrual age to the Sabarimala temple. The review petitions will be heard February 6 onwards by a five judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi.
Since the Supreme Court allowed the entry of women of all ages, the situation in Kerala has been a chaotic one. In the immediate aftermath of the verdict, lakhs of Ayyappa devotees had taken to the streets to protest against it. The situation only escalated in the months which followed, and violent protests led to the arrests of nearly 2,000 people.
The Kerala government, however, has stood by the Supreme Court verdict, and its determination to allow the entry of women to the temple has sparked a political war between the state government and Opposition parties, including the BJP and the Congress. However, after months of efforts, two women of menstrual age entered the temple at the start of this year, thereby scripting history.
In the wee hours of January 2, Kanka Durga and Bindu Ammini entered the Sabarimala temple in a historic move. Following their entry, the temple was shut for a couple of hours for 'purification', and widespread protests erupted. The duo had to spend a couple of weeks in hiding, owing to threats from devotees. On her return home, Durga was also attacked by her mother-in-law and had to be hospitalized.
The Kerala government maintains that as many as 51 women of menstrual age has entered the Sabarimala temple since the Supreme Court verdict, but the figure has been contested by Ayyappa devotees, as well as activists. Meanwhile, some of the women who are confirmed to have entered the temple have faced severe backlash, both from protesters, and from their families.