SABARIMALA … Anxious wait for SC order on Sabarimala on Thursday; security tight in Kerala

TVM: Kerala is set on an anxious wait for the final word on Sabarimala women entry issue, with the Supreme Court reserving its order on the writ and review petitions – some 60 of them – for pronouncement at 10.30am on Thursday. Security has been beefed up across the state, and the police force is on full alert.
The order by the apex court September 28 last year, allowing entry for women of all ages in the abode of Lord Ayyappa in Sabarimala, had led to massive protests organised by the RSS and the NSS – two prominent Hindu organisations in the state – as also the BJP, while the Left and its government in the state stood by the SC verdict and the principal opposition, the Congress, took a neutral stand. That order was passed by a bench headed by then CJI Dipak Mishra.
The present verdict will be delivered by a Constitution bench headed by CJI Ranjan Gogoi, for whom this was among the last of the cases he would give his last word on, before his retirement a week hence. The Sabarimala will reopen for the Mandala Pooja season on November 16. It was during the same season that trouble erupted over women entry issue there last year, which spilled onto the approaching Makara Vilakku season which lasted until late January.
Notably, three of the four judges on the bench had been members of the bench that allowed entry to women of all ages – as against the existing practice of allowing only women after their menstruating age. CJI Ranjan Gogoi was not part of the previous bench. It was a bench headed by Gogoi that passed the recent Ayodhya verdict, ending a decades-long dispute over the Babri Masjid-Ram Janambhoomi issue.
Kerala’s tough-talking chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan has made it clear that his government is duty-bound to implement the Supreme Court order, whichever way it goes now, and will not shy away from responsibility. IHN=NN

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