Sabarimala issue
Sabarimala Image Credit: Agencies

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday said restrictions on women in religious places was not limited to Sabarimala alone and was prevalent in other religions as well as it referred all review pleas to a larger seven-judge bench.

Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, reading the verdict on behalf of himself and Justices A M Khanwilkar and Indu Malhotra, said the larger bench will decide all such religious issues relating to Sabarimala, entry of women in mosques and practice of female genital mutilation in the Dawoodi Bohra community.

The CJI said the endeavour of the petitioners was to revive debate on religion and faith.

The apex court, by a majority verdict of 4:1, on September 28, 2018, had lifted the ban that prevented women and girls between the age of 10 and 50 from entering the famous Ayyappa shrine in Kerala and had held that this centuries-old Hindu religious practice was illegal and unconstitutional.

Women entry not limited to Sabarimala but also includes other faiths 

The Supreme Court said that the entry of women into places of worship is not just limited to the Sabarimala temple but also includes issues like allowing Muslim and Parsi women to enter religious practice.

Reading out the judgement, Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi stated that issues such as Muslim women's entry into mosques, right of Parsi women who married outside the community to access towers of silence etc, have been referred to a larger bench.

A Constitution Bench led by CJI Ranjan Gogoi referred to a larger constitution bench a batch of review petitions against its September 2018 verdict allowing entry of women of all age groups into the Sabarimala temple.

The split 3:2 verdict saw Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman and Justice DY Chandrachud dissenting.