Sabarimala women entry: Supreme Court refuses to hear urgently contempt plea against temple shutdown

The Supreme Court said that the contempt petition would be heard along with the pending review petitions against the apex court verdict that ruled that women of all ages could enter Sabarimala

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court Thursday refused to accord an urgent hearing to a contempt petition moved by a lawyers’ group against Sabarimala temple authorities for closing the shrine after two women entered it. 

A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice SK Kaul said that the contempt petition will be heard along with the pending review petitions against the apex court verdict, which allowed women of all age groups to enter the Sabarimala temple. 

Advocate PV Dinesh appearing for Indian Young Lawyers Association told the bench that the temple authorities closed the shrine Wednesday for purification purpose after two women had entered inside, which is in violation of apex court verdict.

On Wednesday, two women of menstruating age group had stepped into the Sabarimala temple of Lord Ayyappa, breaking centuries-old tradition-defying dire threats from the Hindu right.

Kanakadurga, 44, and Bindu, 42, stepped into the hallowed precincts guarded by police three months after the apex court’s historic judgement lifting the ban on entry of girls and women between 10 and 50 years of age into the shrine of Lord Ayyappa, its “eternally celibate” deity.

This followed a show of strength by the CPI(M)-led LDF government that had organised a ‘wall’ in support of the entry of women of all age groups into the temple. The human chain witnessed active participation by several prominent communist politicians and many burqa-clad Muslim women. This made the supporters of social media question whether these women were Lord Ayyappa’s devotees who were dying to worship the celibate deity.

Earlier attempts backed by the communist administration to force women into Sabarimala had failed until Kanakadurga and Bindu surreptitiously entered the shrine before daybreak on Wednesday.
Following the entry of the women into the shrine, the chief priest had decided to close the sanctum sanctorum of the temple in order to perform the ‘purification’ ceremony.

Despite the Supreme Court’s historic ruling on 28 September last year, permitting women in the 10-50 age group, no children or young women in the ‘barred’ group were able to offer prayers at the shrine following frenzied protests by devotees and right-wing outfits.