SC verdict on Sabarimala: Judicial remedy sought against ban on women for first time in 2006 against 1991 Kerala HC ruling; a timeline

  • The Supreme Court on Thursday unanimously agreed to refer the religious issues to a larger bench.

  • While the five-judge bench by a 3:2 verdict decided to keep pending the pleas seeking a review of the decision allowing the entry of women of all ages to the shrine.

  • Here is the chronology of events relating to the entry of women into the Sabrimala temple.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday unanimously agreed to refer the religious issues to a larger bench, while the five-judge bench by a 3:2 verdict decided to keep pending the pleas seeking a review of the top court's decision allowing the entry of women of all ages to the shrine. Following is the chronology of events relating to the entry of women into the Sabarimala temple.

1990: S Mahendran files plea in Kerala High Court seeking ban on women's entry to Lord Ayyappa Temple at Sabarimala.

5 April, 1991: Kerala High Court upholds age-old restriction on women of a certain age-group entering the temple.

4 August, 2006: Indian Young Lawyers Association files plea in Supreme Court seeking to quash the ban on entry of women of menstruating age.

7 November 2007: LDF government of Kerala files affidavit supporting PIL questioning ban on women's entry.

11 Jan, 2016: Two-judge bench of SC questions practice banning entry of women at the temple.

6 February: Congress-led UDF government takes U-turn, tells SC it is duty bound to "protect the right to practice the religion of these devotees".

11 April: SC says gender justice endangered by ban on women.

13 April: SC says tradition can't justify ban on women's entry.

21 April: Hind Navotthana Pratishtan and Narayanashrama Tapovanam files plea in SC supporting entry of women.

7 Nov: LDF government files fresh affidavit in SC saying it favoured the entry of women of all age groups.

13 October, 2017: SC refers the case to constitution bench.

27 October: Plea filed in SC for gender-equal bench to hear the case.

17 July, 2018: Five-judge constitution bench starts hearing the matter.

19 July: SC says women have fundamental right to enter the temple and questioned the rationale behind the age group.

24 July: SC makes it clear that the ban on entry of women would be tested on "constitutional ethos".

25 July: Nair Service Society tells SC the celibate nature of Sabarimala temple's presiding deity Lord Ayyappa is protected by the Constitution.

26 July: SC observes it can't remain oblivious to ban on entry of women as they were barred on "physiological ground" of menstruation.

1 August: SC reserves verdict.

28 September: SC, in 4:1 verdict, allows entry of women in Sabarimala temple, says banning females' entry into the shrine is gender discrimination and the practice violates rights of Hindu women.

8 October: Plea in SC by National Ayyappa Devotees Association seeks review of the judgement.

23 October: SC agrees to hear the review pleas on Nov 13.

13 November: SC agrees to hear the review pleas in open court on Jan 22, refuses to stay judgement.

14 November: SC declines to stay its verdict.

3 December: Kerala govt moves SC seeking transfer of related cases from HC to apex court.

22 January, 2019: SC says it may not start hearing in the case till Jan 30 as Justice Indu Malhotra, lone woman judge of the 5-member Constitution bench goes on medical leave.

31 January: SC to hear review pleas on Feb 6.

6 February: SC reserves verdict on review pleas.

14 November: SC refers to larger seven-judge bench for re-examining various religious issues, including entry of women into Sabarimala temple and mosques and the practice of female genital mutilation in the Dawoodi Bohra community. Five-judge bench gives 3:2 majority verdict, keep pending the review pleas.

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Updated Date: Nov 14, 2019 14:17:43 IST