Kerala‘s famed Sabarimala Temple is all set to open for a special prayer on November 5 with the Pathanamthitta district administration Friday having imposed Section 144 in four areas, following intense agitations against women entering the temple after the Supreme Court of India in a 4-1 verdict, asserted that the temple be open to women of all age, ending the entry ban on women of menstruating age, PTI reported.
The temple opened on October 17, the first time after the apex court verdict, and closed on October 22 after the evening prayers.
Twelve women had been stopped by protesters from reaching the temple.
The temple administration had threatened to lock the temple and stop rituals if any tradition would be broken. The Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) said that it would file a detailed report on the ‘grave situation’ to the Supreme Court.
The temporary ban restricts the gathering of more than four people at Saanidhanam, Pamba, Nilakkal and Elavunkal from November 4 to November 6. The administration has also issued orders to intensify police patrolling in these areas to ensure nobody is harmed.
On September 28, the Chief Justice of India headed bench of the Supreme Court, in a 4-1 verdict, asserted that the temple be open to women of all age, ending the entry ban on women of menstruating age. It said the centuries-old custom at the shrine was not an essential religious practice and “the attribute of devotion to divinity cannot be subjected to the rigidity and stereotypes of gender”. Four of the five judges on the bench — then CJI Dipak Misra, Justices R F Nariman, A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud — ruled against the restriction on women while Justice Indu Malhotra gave a dissenting opinion, saying “the religious practice of restricting the entry of women between the ages of 10 to 50 years is in pursuance of an ‘essential religious practice’… notions of rationality cannot be invoked in matters of religion by courts”.
In October, the apex court had said that it would hear the review petitions regarding its earlier judgment last month that allowed women of all ages to enter the Sabarimala temple in Kerala on November 13.