A famous—but not so famous—editor of Delhi was known to ring up his erstwhile colleagues (who were not as lucky as him to rise to the top position) every morning his editorial appeared on print. He would specifically ask them whether they had read the last sentence which he claimed was the most important part of the editorial. Because, according to him, he had written it in such a way that nobody would know what to make of it.
The Sabarimala review judgment by the bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, who has just demitted office, belongs to a similar category. It is virtually a retirement judgment, which pleases possibly everyone and irks none. It leaves the scope for interested parties to interpret the decision whichever way they like, whether they support the entry of women of all ages to the famous hill shrine, or whether they believe that the entry of the women of reproductive age would cause discomfort to the celibate temple deity.
The verdict has expanded the scope of the issue raised in the clutch of review petitions challenging the 2018 September 4-1 majority verdict upholding the right of women of all ages to pray at Sabarimala to include almost everything that is related to religions and religious practices. Accordingly, the Sabarimala issue has been combined with entry of Muslim women in a Dargah/Mosque as well as the restriction on Parsi women married to a non-Parsi to visit the holy fire temple along with the practice of female genital mutilation in the Dawoodi Bohra community. There is nothing wrong with the approach, but it fails to appreciate the fact that the specific issue at Sabarimala is entirely of a different nature.