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SC to hear women's plea seeking security after entering Sabarimala

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday, will hear the plea of two women seeking round-the-clock security after they had recently entered the Sabarimala temple in Kerala.

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Senior advocate Indira Jaising listed the matter before a bench comprising of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices L.N. Rao and S.K. Kaul on Thursday.
In the plea, one of the women, who had been attacked by her mother-in-law following her entry into the hilltop shrine, had sought security for both the women.
It also sought directions to all authorities to allow women of all age groups to enter the temple without any hindrance and to ensure security and safe passage, including police protection to women, wishing to enter the temple in future.

"Issue writ of mandamus directing authorities to provide full security, 24x7, to the two women who have entered the temple, and to deal with protesters indulging in acts of violence, physical and/or verbal on social media or otherwise against them in accordance with the law," the petition had said.
It further sought directions declaring all the concerned authorities not to conduct the rite of purification or to shut the temple, on the account of any woman, between the ages of 10-50, having entered the temple, as the ceremony 'diminishes the dignity as human beings and violates their fundamental right'.

On September 28, last year, a five-judge constitution bench, headed by the then Chief Justice Dipak Misra, in a 4:1 verdict paved the way for entry of women of all ages into the Sabarimala temple, saying that the ban amounted to gender discrimination.

Two women - Kanakadurga (44) and Bindu (42), had stepped into the Sabarimala temple of Lord Ayyappa, breaking a centuries-old tradition and defying threats from the Hindu right wing groups, three months after the apex court's historic judgment 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.

Following the entry of the women into the shrine, the Chief Priest had decided to close the sanctum sanctorum of the temple to perform the 'purification' ceremony.

The top court had said it may not start hearing pleas seeking a review of the Sabarimala verdict from January 22, as one of the judges was on medical leave.

Earlier, the apex court decided to hear in open court the review petitions against the verdict.

Besides Justice Indu Malhotra and the CJI, Justices R.F. Nariman, A.M. Khanwilkar and D.Y. Chandrachud are part of the five-judge constitution bench.

Justice Malhotra had delivered the dissenting judgment in the case.

There are around 48 petitions seeking review of the judgment and were filed following violent protests in favour and against the verdict.

Despite the Supreme Court's historic ruling, 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.

Also read: Sabarimala issue: CPI(M) says PM speaking like RSS 'pracharak'



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