Supreme Court moves Sabarimala case to a 7-judge bench

Scores of believers from different parts of the country visit Sabarimala Temple in Kerala's Pathanamthitta to witness "Makaravilakku Mahotsavam 2019 - the ritualistic 'deeparadhana' (aarthi)", on Jan 14, 2019IANS
  • The Supreme Court is reviewing the entry of women of all ages into the temple.
  • The Supreme Court today moved the matter to a seven member bench, from the current five bench judgement.
  • Before the last SC verdict women of menstruating age were not allowed to enter the temple because the deity is believed to celibate.
The controversial Sabarimala case shows no signs of dying down. The Supreme Court today moved the matter to a seven member bench, from the current five bench judgment. The petitions that were filed to review its earlier judgment are kept pending.

The Court needs time to review the matter, said a lawyer who was speaking outside the Supreme Court.


The top court is reviewing the entry of women of all ages into the temple. Before the last SC verdict women of menstruating age were not allowed to enter the temple because the deity is believed to celibate. Today's appeal is expected to settle the debate once and for all.

The Supreme Court with a 5-judge bench led by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi was reviewing 64 petitions which had challenged its earlier verdict.

Last year, in a landmark judgment, the Supreme Court had allowed menstruating women between the age group of 10-50 to enter the temple. The earlier verdict was passed by a 5-judge bench which included the then Chief Justice Dipak Misra, and Justices A. M. Khanwilkar, R. F. Nariman, Indu Malhotra and D. Y. Chandrachud.

It wasn’t a unanimous judgment with the only woman on the panel Justice Indu Malhotra opposing the decision where she had said that the rational arguments cannot be applied to matters of religion and that religious practices are more complex than the right to equality.

Then, the body which manages the Sabarimala temple – the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) and the custodians of the temple, the Pandalam royal family had expressed its disappointment with the verdict.

Since then, the temple has seen multiple protests from both sides of the party – the temple authorities have challenged the court’s verdict, while women have on different occasions sneaked into the temple and were escorted by cops.

The Mandala season is here

From Wednesday, the security at Sabarimala temple, which opens its doors on Sunday for devotees for the two-month long festival, has been tightened before the verdict.

According to IANS, the police have classified the two month long season ⁠— from November to January ⁠— into four segments with the first two weeks starting on November 15 to November 29 and in all 2,551 police personnel would be posted in and around the temple complex.
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