Supreme Court verdict in Sabarimala Case Coverage: The Supreme Court on Thursday referred the issue of allowing women of all ages into Kerala’s Sabarimala Temple to a larger bench. The top court, in a 3:2 split verdict, held by majority that the issue of restrictions on women’s entry in religious places is not limited to Hindu temples but impacts Muslims and Parsis as well. Contendidng that the possibility of the issue being raised for consideration by a larger bench of the top court cannot be ruled out, the CJI Ranjan Gogoi-headed bench favoured examination of such religious issues by a bench of seven judges. The CJI said that the top court should evolve common policy on religious places like Sabarimala while referring to restrictions on entry of women into mosques. The CJI referred all review petitions and other pleas in Sabarimala case to seven-judge bench. “Larger bench will decide religious issues relating to Sabarimala, entry of women into mosques, practice of female genital mutilation,” he said.
The top court on September 28, 2018, had allowed the entry of women of all ages into the Sabarimala temple. The Sabarimala Temple is dedicated to Lord Ayyappa. Women in the age group of 10-50 were not allowed entry into the temple but the top court in 2018 ruled that it was violative of their fundamental rights and constitutional guarantees. The judgment was delivered by a Constitution bench, headed by the then CJI Dipak Misra. The bench gave a 4:1 verdict claiming the ban led to gender discrimination.