The bench of Justice Dipak Misra, Justice R. Banumathi and Justice Ashok Bhushan had earlier reserved its verdict on referring the case to a constitution bench.
According to custom at this temple, where the deity is believed to be celibate, girls and women between the ages of 10 and 50 are not allowed inside the temple. In November a year ago, after the Left government took charge in Kerala, there was a U-turn by the state government from its earlier stance and the affidavit stated that it was ready to allow women of all ages to enter Sabarimala.
The top court has also raised six questions on the issue to be considered by the Constitution bench. Meanwhile, on one side, women term the practice as discriminatory other sections say, it has to do with complex ritualistic practices of Sanatana Dharma of temples in south India. A 1991 Kerala High Court judgment supports the restriction imposed on women devotees.
The LDF government, which was in power in Kerala when the petition was filed in 2006, had chosen not to oppose the petition and had filed an affidavit supporting the entry of women into the temple.
The apex court has also framed several questions to be dealt with by constitution bench. Meanwhile, the apex court had asked all the parties to submit their submissions. You can not refuse entry to a woman who comes there ...
Questioning the age-old custom, the Supreme Court in July had said, "A temple is a public religious place and can not refuse entry to a woman". It recently held that the practice of divorcing a woman by chanting "talaq, talaq, talaq" was illegal as it violated Muslim women's fundamental rights.
"Hoping a positive verdict, the women rights activist Brinda Adige had told Asian Age that for last few months, the SC had been giving positive, landmark and progressive verdicts".
The petitioners also includes the Travancore Devasom Board that manages the temple and women's organisations, The Indian Express reported.