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Women's entry at Sabarimala: Supreme Court refers matter to larger bench

Five judge bench rules by 3:2 majority, Justices Chandrachud and Nariman dissent

BS Web Team  |  New Delhi 

Supreme Court
A general view of the Supreme Court. Photo: Aashish Aryan

A five-judge bench of the Supreme Court on Thursday referred to a larger bench pleas seeking a review of its 2018 ruling that allowed menstruating women from entering the Sabarimala temple in Kerala.

Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice A M Khanwilkar and Indu Malhotra said a larger bench will hear if the court can decide matter of religious practice. Justices R F Nariman and DY Chandrachud gave dissenting opinion.

The bench said petitions had “sought to revive the debate about what's the religion and essential religious practices”. “Individual right to pray at temple cannot be superior to what is considered as religious by another sect is what petitions have argued,” the court said, according to

The court had on September 28, 2018, scrapped a ban on women and girls between 10 and 50 from at the temple, ruling that a centuries-old Hindu religious practice was illegal and unconstitutional.

The verdict comes two days before the temple opens for the two-month-long pilgrimage season from November 16.

The court’s verdict sparked protests across Kerala, mainly led by caste outfits like the NSS and right-wing Hindu organisations of the Sangh Parivar.

First Published: Thu, November 14 2019. 10:52 IST