Sabarimala: no stay to verdict, SC agrees to open-court hearingtext_fields
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to stay its reforming verdict of September 28 allowing women of all age groups to the hill shrine.
The day was particularly fraught for Kerala with the government, media, protesters and the public nail-bitingly waited for the apex court’s words.
The review petitions were heard inside the cambers of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi.
“We make it clear that there is no stay on the judgment and order of this court dated September 28,” the bench said, meaning the September 28 verdict will remain effect till then.
However protesters viewed a breather when the court said it would hear the matter on January 22 in an open court.
Meanwhile, the LDF government seems to be jittery in the face of possible protests.
The daunting task before the government will be to make arrangements amid protests to emboldened women devotees in the lifted-age group.
After the September 28 verdict, violence erupted at Nilakkal and Pampa when the temple opened for rites for eight days in two spells.
Nearly a dozen women tried but failed to break through the bulwark of protests and the hill shrine remains off-limit to women of menstruating age.
Usually the two-month annual pilgrim season, or Mandala-Makaravillakku season, packs the trek and sanctum sanctorum with millions of devotees.
The season starting on November 16 would be a hyperactive time for police, given the apparent chances for violence.
More than 500 women reportedly are online queue having signed up on Kerala police website requesting ‘dershan’ of Lord Ayyappa. This might pose a daunting challenge for government and the police.
No surprise if the authorities were to employ choppers to ferry women devotees to shrine; some reports said as much.
In order to defuse tension, and seeking a possible vent, the government will convene an all-party meet on November 15.
The state BJP has welcomed the SC ruling; however, the party, which has been leading a protest march days after the verdict, may well intensify the stir.
Opposition Congress is also at the forefront of protest vying for space with BJP