Court To Hear Contempt Plea Against Sabarimala Chief Priest On January 22

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The Supreme Court will hear on January 22 a contempt plea against the Sabarimala temple tantri

New Delhi:

The Supreme Court will hear on January 22 a contempt plea against the Sabarimala temple tantri for shutting the sanctum for purification after two women belonging to the previously prohibited age group entered the temple on January 2.

Declining the plea for an early hearing of the latest contempt plea, the bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said: "We have kept the date as January 22. We have arranged our schedules for that. Will hear then."

The application in the already pending contempt petition by activist AV Varsha was mentioned by lawyer PV Dinesh.

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The Sabarimala temple was shut on January 2 after two women — Bindu and Kanaka Durga — from the hitherto banned age group prayed there and was reopened an hour later after the priests performed "purification rituals".

In line with its traditions, the women and girls in the age group of 10 to 50 are barred from praying at the Sabarimala temple.

This prohibition was struck down by the Supreme Court on September 28, 2018, opening the gates of temple to women of all age groups.

The Supreme Court order opened the gates of the Sabarimala temple, dedicated to Lord Ayyappa, to women and girls in the 10-50 age group, holding that the exclusion based on "menstrual status is a form of untouchability which is an anathema to constitutional values."

"The social exclusion of women, based on menstrual status, is a form of untouchability which is an anathema to constitutional values. Notions of "purity and pollution", which stigmatise individuals, have no place in a constitutional order", Justice Dhananjay Y. Chandrachud had said in his separate but concurring judgment.

The Supreme Court had on November 13 decided to go for open court hearing on January 22 of the nearly 50 petitions seeking a recall of its order permitting women of all age groups to pray at the Kerala temple.

The court will hear the review petitions along with three more petitions.

The prayers in three petitions effectively seek to uphold the practice of prohibiting the entry of girls and women in the age group of 10 to 50 years in the Sabarimala temple.

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