SC Constitution Bench To Hear Sabarimala Review Petitions On 6th February
The Constitution bench of the Supreme Court will hear review petitions filed in Sabarimala case on 6th February, 2019, the registry has notified today.
On November 13 last year, a bench of Chief Justice Gogoi and Justices R. F. Nariman, A. M. Khanwilkar, D. Y. Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra, while refraining from staying the impugned decision, had agreed to hear the review petitions in Open Court on January 22nd.
But the constitution bench did not hold sitting on the said day, as one of the judges, Justice Indu Malhotra, was on Medical leave.
Last week, the Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi had also turned down the request for an immediate hearing of the review petitions. An application seeking a live telecast of the proceedings is also pending before the bench, which may consider it on 6th February.
As many as 49 review petitions were filed against September 28 judgment of the Supreme Court permitting entry of young women (aged between 10-50) into the Lord Ayyappa Temple. CJI Dipak Misra led bench (4:1) held that devotion cannot be subjected to gender discrimination. Justice Indu Malhotra, who was the lone woman in the bench had dissented.
The review petitions rely heavily on the dissenting judgment of Justice Malhotra to contend that constitutional parameters of rationality cannot be blindly applied to matters of faith. The review petitions also state that the Court erred in entertaining the PIL without examining the locus standi of the petitioner. It is contended that no woman devotee of Lord Ayyappa would want to visit Sabarimala temple, and hence the Court erred in adjudicating the issue on a petition filed by a party who is totally alien to the temple customs. Further, it is pointed out that Court wrongly concluded that the basis of prohibition was physiological nature of women. According to the review petitioners,the practise was rooted in the "naishtika brahmachari" character of deity, as per which the deity cannot be in the presence of women. The practise is therefore not derogatory to the dignity of women, states the petition.