Thursday will be an action-packed day in the Supreme Court where a constitutional bench, headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi, will deliver verdicts in three important cases. These include the Sabarimala and Rafale review petitions as well as a criminal contempt plea filed against Congress leader Rahul Gandhi. After the historic verdict on the Ayodhya land dispute matter, Gogoi was left with four other important judgments before demitting office on November 17.
By a majority verdict of 4:1, the apex court in September last year had lifted the ban preventing women and girls between the age of 10 and 50 from entering the Ayyappa shrine in Kerala, holding the centuries-old religious practice as illegal and unconstitutional.
The court is scheduled to pronounce tomorrow its verdict on a batch of petitions seeking re-examination of its decision to allow entry of women of all age groups into the temple. The court will deliver its judgment on as many as 65 petitions — including 56 review petitions and four fresh writ petitions and five transfer pleas — filed after its verdict sparked violent protests in the state.
The five-judge constitution bench, comprising Justices RF Nariman, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud, and Indu Malhotra, had reserved its decision on February 6 after hearing various parties, including those seeking re-consideration of the September judgment.
Keeping in mind the verdict, around 2,500 policemen and women will be posted in and around the temple complex for two weeks.
The TDB, which runs the temple, had made a U-turn to support the Supreme Court's order allowing women of all ages to enter the shrine. It had joined the Kerala government to oppose a batch of pleas seeking review of the historic verdict.