The Supreme Court on Friday directed the Kerala police to provide round-the-clock security to 2 women who had entered Sabarimala temple. The development came in the wake of massive protests by right-wing Hindu groups over the entry of women to the Lord Ayyappa shrine in Kerala. A bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi said it was only going into the aspect of security to the two women and would not like to entertain any other prayer.
"Supreme Court directs Kerala government to provide adequate security to the two women who entered and offered prayers at Kerala's Sabarimala Temple on January 2," the news agency ANI reported.
The bench, which also comprises Justices LN Rao and SK Kaul, however, refused to tag the matter along with the pending petitions in the Sabarimala case. Two women - Kanakdurga and Bindu, both in their menstruant age, stepped into the hallowed precincts guarded by the police in the wee hours of January 2.
The plea sought directions to all authorities to allow women of all age groups to enter the temple without any hindrance and to ensure security and safe passage, including police security to women wishing to enter the temple in future. The petition also sought directions declaring all authorities not to conduct the rite of purification or to shut the temple right after the entry of women.
"Issue writ of mandamus directing authorities to provide full security, 24x7, to the two women who have entered the temple, and to deal with protesters indulging in acts of violence, physical and/or verbal on social media or otherwise against them in accordance with the law," the petition said.
The purification ritual is representative of a cleansing ceremony, signifying the petitioners were impure, which is violative of their dignity under Article 21 of the Constitution, it added.
Kerala has been witnessing a string of protests ever since the Supreme Court, in its historic judgment, had on September 28, 2018, lifted the ban on the entry of girls and women between 10 and 50 years of age into the hilltop shrine of Lord Ayyappa, its "eternally celibate" deity.
However, the bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice RF Nariman, Justice AM Khanwilkar, Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice Indu Malhotra is scheduled to review the Supreme Court's September verdict on Sabarinmala on January 12.