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‘Please wait till Jan 22,’ SC to petitioner who sought stay on entry of women into Sabarimala

New Delhi : The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to stay its September 28 verdict allowing women of all ages into Kerala’s Ayyappa temple.

“Please wait till January 22,” the CJI led bench told the petitioner who had sought a modification of the top court’s order.


A five-judge Supreme Court bench led by Chief Justice of India (CJI), Ranjan Gogoi, agreed to reconsider its September judgement that allowed women of all ages to enter the Sabarimala temple in Kerala, but refused to stay the operation of the verdict that would have the effect of disallowing the entry of women into the hilltop shrine.

The apex court bench, also comprising justices RF Nariman, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra, fixed January 22 to take up the 49 review petitions calling for a reversal of its September 28 verdict and other applications in the matter.

This order was issued after the petitions were circulated among the judges in their chambers at 3pm, in accordance with rules of the top court. No lawyers are present during these proceedings. As per the rules, the bench that delivers the original verdict considers the review petition. In the Sabarimala case, a new bench was convened and CJI Gogoi stepped in to head it because former chief justice Dipak Misra, who was part of the bench that delivered the original ruling in September, has since retired.

The lone woman judge on the bench, justice Malhotra, dissented with the original ruling, which review petitioners have cited in support of their demand.

Several applicants had asked for an open court hearing of the petitions, which the court appears to have accepted.

On September 28,the apex court ruled by a 4-1 majority that no woman can be stopped from entering Sabarimala temple, ending a traditional ban on the entry of women between 10 and 50 years of age in to the shrine. Women of reproductive age were restricted from entering the over 800-year-old shrine in south Kerala’s Pathanamthitta district because its presiding deity, Lord Ayyappa, is considered to be a celibate.

Several groups have opposed the verdict and staged violent protests against it. No woman of reproductive age has entered the shrine since the court order was delivered.