The Supreme Court on Thursday agreed to hear a petition filed by Bindu Ammini, a woman from Kerala who has sought police protection to enter the Sabarimala temple. The court said it will list the matter along with similar other pleas.
Last week, Ammini was attacked by a member of ‘Hindu Helpline’ outside the police commissionerate in Kochi where she had gone to seek protection for the temple visit.
The apex court bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde said, “We will list the petition along with the earlier petition (on Sabarimala) next week."
Senior advocate Indira Jaising, representing Ammini, mentioned the plea for urgent listing before the bench also comprising Justices B.R. Gavai and Surya Kant. Jaising submitted that Ammini was prevented from entering the temple though the top court has not stayed its 2018 Sabarimala judgement, which allowed women of all age groups to enter the shrine.
“Ammini was attacked with some chemical substance right outside the office of the commissioner of police," said the advocate.
A similar petition was filed by activist Rehana Fatima on Wednesday and was mentioned by senior advocate Colin Gonslaves before the same bench.
A five-judge Constitution bench, by a majority verdict of 4:1 delivered in September last year, had allowed girls and women of all age groups to visit the Lord Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala in Kerala. The bench had said that discrimination on physiological grounds was violative of fundamental rights such as the Right to Equality.
On 14 November, a five-judge bench headed by former Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi referred review petitions on the Sabarimala verdict to a seven-judge bench and put the spotlight on the constitutional validity of practices across religions that placed restrictions on women.
The larger bench was asked to look into cases in relation to entry of Muslim women into a dargah/mosque, Parsi women married to non-Parsis and their entry into the fire temple, and issues related to female genital mutilation in the Dawoodi Bohra community. The apex court observed that a common policy needs to be formulated for cases that juxtapose religion with faith and equality.