Nine-judge SC bench to hear Sabarimala review petitions on January 13
A nine-judge constitution bench has been formed to hear pleas seeking review of SC’s landmark Sabarimala verdict.
The Supreme Court has decided to begin hearing the petitions seeking review of its previous judgement on the Sabarimala issue from January 13, 2020. A nine-judge constitution bench has been formed to hear the sensitive case.
The top court issued a notice on January 6, 2020 informing the listing of petition filed by Indian Young Lawyers Association for hearing before the nine-judge constitution bench from January 13. The petition seeks review of SC’s historic judgement delivered in September 2018 that allowed women of all ages to enter the Sabarimala temple.
The court will also take up other contentious issues for hearing such as alleged discrimination against Muslim and Parsi women. The apex court stated that the debate surrounding the constitutional validity of religious practices barring the entry of women into places of worship was not limited to the Sabarimala case.
The court said that the restrictions exist in the Muslim and Parsi community as well concerning the entry of Muslim women in mosques and dargah and ban on entry of Parsi women married to non-Parsi men in their religious places.
The Supreme Court said that it was time to evolve a judicial policy to do substantial and complete justice to the issue.
Sabarimala Review Petitions
A five-judge bench of the Supreme Court had on November 14, 2019 referred the Sabarimala review petitions to a larger seven-judge bench in a 3:2 majority verdict.
The constitution bench was headed by the then CJI Ranjan Gogoi, who read out the majority judgement. Justices AM Khanwilkar and Indu Malhotra also supported the judgement which directed that the matter of whether a court should interfere in religious matters should be referred to a larger bench.
Justices DY Chandrachud and RF Nariman had delivered the dissenting judgement stating that when a judgment is declared, it is final and binds all.
The majority judgement had tagged the Sabarimala review pleas with other similar issues such as issues involving entry of Muslim women in mosques, right of Parsi women who married outside their community to access religious places and the legality of female genital mutilation in Dawoodi Bohra community and referred all the cases to a larger bench.
The dissenting judges were of the opinion that since the issues of Muslim and Parsi women were not heard before the bench constituted to hear Sabarimala issue, they should not be tagged together.
The Supreme Court had on September 28, 2018 allowed the entry of women belonging to all age groups into Kerala’s Sabarimala Temple. The court had ruled the process of barring entry of women into the Ayyappa temple based on their age and biological features as unconstitutional.
The Sabarimala temple bars the entry of women aged between 10 and 50 years citing the reason to be the celibate status of the main deity of the temple- Lord Ayyappa. Despite SC’s ruling allowing the entry of all women into the temple, the temple authorities continue to evoke the ban.