[12/13, 16:06] Sekarreporter: Be patient, Supreme Court tells women seeking protection to enter Sabarimala temple: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/be-patient-supreme-court-tells-women-seeking-protection-to-enter-sabarimala-temple/article30295564.ece
[12/13, 16:06] Sekarreporter: Any judicial order at this time may spark violence, says apex court
The Supreme Court on Friday advocated “patience” to women of menstruating age fighting for their right to enter and worship at Sabarimala temple, saying though the law was in their favour, any judicial order at this time may spark violence.
The situation is already “explosive,” the court said.
[12/13, 16:06] Sekarreporter: Two women in their thirties had approached the Supreme Court recently with a plea to direct the Kerala police to provide them protection for their intended pilgrimage to the famed forest temple during the ongoing season. They said a Constitution Bench lifted the ban on women of menstruating age to enter Sabarimala in a majority judgment on September 28, 2018. The State’s refusal to provide them protection was in gross contempt of the judgment, they argued.
On November 14, a Bench of five judges, sitting in review of the judgment, referred the fundamental question of whether a woman’s right to worship was subservient to age-old religious customs, faith and traditions, however unequal, to a seven-judge Bench. The Review Bench, however, did not stay the verdict allowing women in the 10 to 50 age bracket to enter Sabarimala.
Senior advocates Indira Jaising and Colin Gonsalves, for the two women, Bindhu Ammini and Rehana Fathima, said the court’s silence now would send a wrong message to the country.
“We know the law and the law is in your favour. But the situation is very emotive, that is why this court thought it best to refer the issue to a larger Bench… Please be patient,” Chief Justice Bobde advised.
But the lawyers insisted that there was no stay of the September 28 judgment.
“Yes, there is no doubt. But equally without doubt is the fact that the issue has been referred to a larger Bench. I have not constituted that Bench… The situation today is as it existed for a 1,000 years. For balance of convenience, we will not pass any order today. If the case is finally decided in your (women’s) favour, we will ensure that every woman goes to Sabarimala. We will jail anybody who will not comply with the law… The situation has become explosive. We do not want a situation now where violence erupts. So, yes, there is a judgment (September 28), but it is equally true that the issue has been referred,” Chief Justice Bobde explained the court’s reluctance to the two lawyers.
Chief Justice Bobde, indicating that any court would have agreed with what the lawyers were arguing for, said, “We know what you are saying is what any court would pass. But we are using our discretion here”.
When the lawyers asked if the two women could go ahead with their pilgrimage, Chief Justice Bobde said, “We are not passing any order stopping her. If she can happily go and pray at the temple, we are not stopping her. We are not passing any order…”
“So Your Lordships are saying there is no stay on the Sabarimala judgment (allowing women of menstruating age entry)?,” Ms. Jaising asked the Bench.
“We are not saying anything. We have already said there is no stay,” Chief Justice responded.
The court said the review petitions in the Sabarimala case would be listed as soon as the seven-judge Bench gave its judgment.
“I will be constituting the seven-judge Bench at the earliest,” Chief Justice Bobde said.