After severe protests by the devotees of Sabarimala temple against allowing women of menstruating age from entering the shrine, the Supreme Court has agreed to hear a review petition on the matter. The apex court, which had recently ruled that women can enter Sabarimala, will hear the review petition at 3 pm on November 13.

The constitutional bench received a total of 19 petitions seeking a review of the Sabarimala verdict. Lawyer Mathews J Nedumpara, who represented Shylaja Vijayan, president of the National Ayyappa Devotees Association, has made his submission to the bench. The bench made his petition the lead petition in the case.

Nedumpara’s petition says the SC should review its verdict on Sabarimala because “faith cannot be judged by scientific or rationale reasons or logic”. The court had on October 9 skipped an urgent hearing on Nedumpara’s plea.

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The petition says, “The notion that the judgment under review is revolutionary, one which removes the stigma or the concept of dirt or pollution associated with menstruation, is unfounded.”

“Hypocrites welcomed this judgment, who were aspiring for media headlines. On the merits of the case, as well, the said judgment is absolutely untenable and irrational, if not perverse.”

The petitioner said that the bench took the decision last month “without jurisdiction or in excess of jurisdiction” and “that it is in violation of principles of natural justice and that it is in violation of express constitutional provisions”

CJI Ranjan Gogoi and Justice SK Kaul will hear the review petition in the CJI’s chamber, and not in an open court format.

In a historic move, the SC last month removed the ban on women between the age group of 10-50 years to enter the Sabarimala temple. This decision sent cheers to the women devotees of Lord Ayyappa as they decided to trek to the hill shrine when it opened last week. A total of nine women under 50 years tried to reach the inner sanctum of the temple but scores of protesters and temple authorities did not let them enter. On October 22, the temple closed its doors again.

Since the temple only opens for a week, last week saw huge protests and vandalization of media crew. Devotees of Lord Ayyappa went all out to stop women from taking the 18 golden stairs that lead to the temple of Lord Ayyappa. It is worth noting that the protesters were not all men, but included women too.

Picture credit- The Hindu

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