Chronology of events on entry of women into Sabarimala temple

Following is the chronology of events relating to the entry of women into the Sabarimala temple.

November 14, 2019 05:11 pm | Updated 06:29 pm IST - New Delhi

A view of Ayyappa temple Sabarimala Sannidhanam

A view of Ayyappa temple Sabarimala Sannidhanam

The Supreme Court on Thursday unanimously agreed to refer the religious issues to a larger bench, while the five-judge bench by a 3:2 verdict decided to keep pending the pleas seeking a review of the top court’s decision allowing the entry of women of all ages to the shrine:

-1990: S. Mahendran files plea in Kerala High Court seeking ban on women’s entry to temple.

-Apr 5, 1991: Kerala HC upholds age-old restriction on women of a certain age-group entering the temple.

-Aug 4, 2006: Indian Young Lawyers Association files plea in SC seeking to ensure entry of female devotees between the age group of 10 to 50 at the Lord Ayappa Temple at Sabarimala.

-Nov 2007: LDF government of Kerala files affidavit supporting PIL questioning ban on women’s entry.

-Jan 11, 2016: Two-judge bench of SC questions practice banning entry of women at the temple.


-Feb 6: Congress led UDF government takes U-turn, tells SC it is duty bound to “protect the right to practice the religion of these devotees”.

-Apr 11: SC says gender justice endangered by ban on women.

-Apr 13: SC says tradition can’t justify ban on women’s entry.

-Apr 21: Hind Navotthana Pratishtan and Narayanashrama Tapovanam files plea in SC supporting entry of women.

-Nov 7: LDF government files fresh affidavit in SC saying it favoured the entry of women of all age groups.

-Oct 13, 2017: SC refers the case to constitution bench.

-Oct 27: Plea filed in SC for gender-equal bench to hear the case.

-Jul 17, 2018: Five-judge constitution bench starts hearing the matter.

-Jul 19: SC says women have fundamental right to enter the temple and questioned the rationale behind the age group.

-Jul 24: SC makes it clear that the ban on entry of women would be tested on “constitutional ethos”.

-Jul 25: Nair Service Society tells SC the celibate nature of Sabarimala temple’s presiding deity Lord Ayyappa is protected by the Constitution.

-Jul 26: SC observes it can’t remain oblivious to ban on entry of women as they were barred on “physiological ground” of menstruation.

-Aug 1: SC reserves verdict.

-Sep 28: SC, in 4:1 verdict, allows entry of women in Sabrimala temple, says banning females’ entry into the shrine is gender discrimination and the practice violates rights of Hindu women.

-Oct 8: Plea in SC by National Ayyappa Devotees Association seeks review of the judgement.

-Oct 23: SC agrees to hear the review pleas on Nov 13.

-Nov 13: SC agrees to hear the review pleas in open court on Jan 22, refuses to stay judgement.

-Nov 14: SC declines to stay its verdict .

-Dec 3: Kerala govt moves SC seeking transfer of related cases from HC to apex court.

-Jan 22, 2019: SC says it may not start hearing in the case till Jan 30 as Justice Indu Malhotra, lone woman judge of the 5-member Constitution bench goes on medical leave.

-Jan 31: SC to hear review pleas on Feb 6.

-Feb 6: SC reserves verdict on review pleas.

-Nov 14: SC refers to larger seven-judge bench for re-examining various religious issues, including entry of women into Sabarimala temple and mosques and the practice of female genital mutilation in the Dawoodi Bohra community. Five-judge bench gives 3:2 majority verdict, keep pending the review pleas.

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