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Sabarimala: Supreme Court to hear applications for protection of women entering the temple next week
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Sabarimala: Supreme Court to hear applications for protection of women entering the temple next week

Shruti Mahajan

The Supreme Court has agreed to hear an application filed by Bindu Ammini seeking protection for women entering the Sabarimala temple. Ammini was allegedly attacked last month when she attempted to enter the temple.

Senior Counsel Indira Jaising mentioned the application for urgent listing today. Jaising told the Court that the judgment of 2018 has not been stayed and Bindu was attacked at a time when she was attempting to enter the temple. Her application seeks directions for the protection of women making the pilgrimage to Sabarimala.

The Bench headed by CJI SA Bobde and comprising of Justices BR Gavai and Surya Kant agreed to hear the plea next week.

The application states that the State of Kerala has “openly taken a stand in defiance of the Judgment” delivered in September 2018 by a five-Judge Bench led by then Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra.

Review petitions against the Court’s judgment were ultimately heard by a five-judge Constitution Bench led by former Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi. The Court kept the review petitions pending while calling for the referral of the larger questions relating to essential religious practice vis-a-vis rights of women to a seven-Judge Bench. This decision of the Constitution Bench led to confusion surrounding the entry of women into the Sabarimala Temple.

The applicant states that she attempted to take a pilgrimage to the Sabarimala Temple on November 26 this year, but was attacked with chemical substances in front of the Office of the Commissioner of Police of Ernakulam District. She claims that the State Police failed to give her adequate protection. While detailing the ordeal she went through, the applicant has also argued that the police and state officials are in “gross contempt” of the orders of the Court and have acted against the mandate of Article 144 of the Constitution.

A separate application by one Rehana Fatima has also been filed before the Supreme Court. This plea was mentioned by Senior Counsel Colin Gonslaves before the Bench headed by Chief Justice Bobde on Wednesday. The Court had agreed to hear this matter next week as well. In her application, Fatima has made similar prayers for protection, apart from seeking directions to the Police to register FIRs in case of any threats to her, including those made on social media.