The bench of Justice Dipak Misra, Justice R. Banumathi and Justice Ashok Bhushan had earlier reserved its verdict on referring the case to a constitution bench.
The apex Court also raised six questions on the issue to be considered by the Constitution bench, reports mentioned.
The age-old rule of the Sabarimala temple of Kerala, a hill shrine dedicated to Lord Ayyappa, forbids the entry of menstruating women. The Sabarimala temple restricts women aged between 10 to 50 years from taking the journey to Sabarimala - which implies women are prohibited from making the hard trek to the place of worship.
A bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra (he was not Chief Justice then), J V Gopala Gowda and Justice Kurian Joseph was hearing the matter during April-May 2016.
"The temple can not prohibit entry (of women), except on the basis of religion".More news: Mom loses primary custody after refusing to vaccinate son
More news: Kelly: Barring 'change,' he's not quitting or being fired
More news: Dani Alves wants Alexis Sanchez at Paris Saint-Germain
In this case, it is the TDB - created by the Kerala State Legislature - is the governing body of the temple.
Kerala's ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) government had told the court in an affidavit filed in September that it was now in support of entry of women into the temple, reversing its earlier stand on the issue. According to them, banning the entry of women would be against the basic tenets of Hinduism. The court will be going great injustice to millions of devotees if it interferes and will set a precedent which will seriously affect other religious institutions, the board asked.
"A temple is a public religious place". Further, Sabarimala is not a denominational temple but a temple for all Hindus and, therefore, Article 26 (b) (giving such protection) is not attracted. It violates the rights of women. And if so, would it not play foul of Articles 14 and 15 (3) of the Constitution by restricting entry of women on the ground of sex?
Basically, are the rules governing the temple entry Act, within or beyond the authority of the Act itself?
The temple's restriction on menstruating women has been a bone of contention in recent times, raising legal questions about women's right to pray and right to equality, as guaranteed by the Constitution of India.Article 14 of the Constitution of India guarantees that the state can not deny any person equality before the law or equal protection of the law.