The Supreme Court has decided to hear in open court all the 48 review petitions that challenged the decision of the court allowing entry of women of all ages into the Sabarimala temple. The decision was taken in the chambers of the Chief Justice, who along with four other judges studied the reviews. The review pleas would now be heard in open court on January 22 2019.
The court however did not stay its earlier order passed on October 28, in which it had allowed the entry of women of all age groups into the temple.
On September 28, a five-judge constitution bench headed by then Chief Justice Dipak Misra, in its 4:1 verdict, had paved the way for entry of women of all ages into the Sabarimala temple saying that the ban amounted to gender discrimination.
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A batch of 48 petitions seeking review of the judgement was taken up for consideration in-chamber by a bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices R F Nariman, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra.
The Supreme Court had on October 9 declined an urgent hearing on the review plea filed by an association which had contended that the five-judge Constitution bench’s verdict lifting the ban was “absolutely untenable and irrational”.
Later, the court had said that it would consider the review pleas on November 13.
A plea filed by National Ayyappa Devotees Association (NADA), which has sought review of the verdict, had said that “the notion that the judgment under review is revolutionary, one which removes the stigma or the concept of dirt or pollution associated with menstruation, is unfounded. It is a judgment welcomed by hypocrites who were aspiring for media headlines. On the merits of the case, as well, the said judgment is absolutely untenable and irrational, if not perverse”.
Besides the Association, several other petitions including one by Nair Service Society (NSS), have been filed against the verdict.
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The NSS had said in the plea that as the deity is a ‘Naistika Brahmachari’, females below the age of 10 and after the age of 50 years are eligible to worship him and there is no practice of excluding worship by females.
“Hence, the delay or wait for 40 years to worship cannot be considered as exclusionary and it is an error of law on the face of the judgement,” the plea had said.