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Even as the Supreme Court is all set to take up the clutch of review petitions challenging the Sep 28 order that permitted women of all ages to enter the Sabarimala temple, the Kerala government is to call an all party meet to discuss measures to be adopted during the pilgrimage season that is to soon resume.

There have been concerns about the situation getting out of hand as pro and anti-women entry groups came eyeball to eyeball on several occasions when the temple opened briefly for the first time since the verdict last month and later for a day this month. The state government, which is trying to implement the SC verdict on women entry, has been at the receiving end after opposition UDF and BJP have come out against the government.

With close to 40 review petitions against the Apex Court verdict allowing women of all ages to enter the hill shrine, the Supreme Court is set to consider the review petitions on Tuesday. The court’s observations also are taken into consideration, while calling the meeting.

Similarly, there are criticisms that the infrastructure at Sabarimala is not in place to adjust to the new realities. The pilgrim facilities at Pamba have been completely damaged in the recent floods that ravaged the state. With the temple set to open its doors again on November 17, the lack of infrastructure facilities has been a major concern among the authorities and devotees.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi will hear about 40 review petitions that have been filed on Tuesday. The five SC judges will hear in an “open court” pleas to recall the September verdict of another five-judge constitution bench that allowed women into the temple, an issue that has polarised both devotees and politicians. The decision to hold an open-court hearing is significant: review pleas are generally held in judges’ chambers where lawyers, litigants and the media have no access.

—India Legal Bureau

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