The Supreme Court has referred the Sabarimala petition to the larger 7-judge bench over allowing entry of women between the ages of 10 and 50 into the sacred Sabarimala temple in Kerala. The apex also clarified that entry of women into mosques, Parsi women case and Dawoodi Bora case are related issues. On Thursday, the five-judge bench consisting CJI Gogoi, Justices RF Nariman, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra stated that the court ought to treat the matters of religious beliefs cautiously. While the Sabarimala temple will reopen for devotees on November 16, there has been no clarity so far over allowing women in accordance with September 2018 verdict. All the major parties and leaders welcomed the decision of constituting the petition to a larger 7-judge bench.
The controversy stirred up in 2018 while the Indian Young Lawyers Association filed a petition over the unofficial ban on the entry of women into the Ayyappa shrine in Kerala. With a majority verdict of 4:1, the apex court lifted the ban on September 28, 2018, which created ripples in religious Hindu communities. However, the bench reserved the judgment after numerous pleas from various societies.