Sabarimala Temple verdict Highlights: Review petitions transferred to larger bench

In 2018, a five-judge bench headed by then CJI Dipak Misra had delivered a landmark 4:1 ruling setting aside decades-old restrictions on the entry of women of menstrual age inside Sabarimala Temple. (Reuters/File)

Sabarimala Temple Verdict: A five-judge bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi Thursday referred the petitions seeking review of its previous judgment in the Sabarimala case to a larger bench by 3:2 majority. In its September 2018 ruling, the apex court had lifted a ban on menstruating women from entering the Sabarimala temple.

During the hearing today, Justice Gogoi, while reading the verdict on behalf of himself and Justices A M Khanwilkar and Indu Malhotra, said the restriction of women into religious places is not limited to Sabarimala temple and said a seven-judge bench will decide all such religious issues relating to the temple, entry of women in mosques and practice of female genital mutilation in the Dawoodi Bohra community. However, Justices R F Nariman, D Y Chandrachud gave dissenting verdict in the case.

The apex court, by a majority verdict of 4:1, on September 28, 2018, had lifted the ban that prevented women and girls between the age of 10 and 50 from entering the famous Ayyappa shrine in Kerala and held that the centuries-old Hindu religious practice was illegal and unconstitutional. Temple custodians argue that women of menstrual age are prohibited from offering prayers as the deity there, Ayyappa, is a celibate.