Sabarimala temple shut till November 4; SC to decide on petitions seeking review of its verdict on women's entry

The sanctum sacrosanct of the famed temple closed at 10 PM on Monday till and will reopen on November 4.

Sabarimala temple shut till November 4; SC to decide on petitions seeking review of its verdict on women's entry

NEW DELHI: The brief pilgrimage season in Kerala's revered Sabarimala temple failed to make history as women in the 10-50 age group were stopped from entering the holy shrine despite the Supreme Court order allowing women of all ages to pray at the Lord Ayyaappa temple.

The sanctum sacrosanct of the famed temple closed at 10 PM on Monday, the day that saw five women making an unsuccessful effort to pray at the hill temple, where tradition had barred women aged between 10 and 50. 

Since Wednesday, Kerala had been on the boil after the temple opened for its customary monthly pujas, the first time after the September 28 verdict by the top court which overturned a centuries-old practice that barred women of menstrual age from entering the hill temple.

Celibate deity Lord Ayyappa is worshipped at the Sabarimala temple where the last pilgrim went up the hill around 7 PM on Monday.

None of the dozen women who tried to have a darshan in the last five days succeeded in entering the temple for prayers as thousands of devotees were determined not to allow them.

The police appeared most relieved for the time being as they had a tough time in trying to implement the apex court`s orders in the face of strong protests which at times turned violent.

Given the present situation, they may have a tougher time when the temple again opens for its annual two-month-long pilgrimage season which begins on November 17.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court is set to decide on Tuesday as to when the petitions, seeking review of its landmark but controversial Sabarimala verdict allowing entry of women of all age groups into the temple, will be listed for hearing. 

A bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice SK Kaul considered the submissions of lawyer Mathews J Nedumpara on Monday that his petition seeking review of the constitutional bench judgement be listed for urgent hearing.

"We know that there are 19 review petitions pending. By tomorrow (Tuesday) we will decide," the bench said.

Nedumpara was mentioning the petition filed by National Ayyappa Devotees Association.

A five-judge constitution bench by a ratio of 4:1 had held that women of all age groups should be allowed entry inside Kerala's Sabarimala Temple.

The court had on October 9 declined an urgent hearing on Nedumpara's plea which had contended that the five-judge Constitution bench verdict lifting the ban was "absolutely untenable and irrational".

The bench had said that the review petitions could only be taken up after the Dussehra vacation, adding that in any case, it will be heard in chamber and not in open court.

The petition filed by Shylaja Vijayan, president, National Ayyappa Devotees Association through Nedumpara, had submitted that, "Faith cannot be judged by scientific or rationale reasons or logic".

(With Agency Inputs)