Tribune News Service
New Delhi, November 13
The Supreme Court on Tuesday decided to hear on January 22 in open court close to 50 petitions seeking a review of its Sabarimala verdict allowing women of all age groups into the famous hill-top shrine in Kerala.
But a five-judge Bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi said there will be no stay on its September 28 verdict allowing entry of women of all age groups to the temple.
“Applications for hearing of review petitions in open court are allowed,” said the Bench, posting all the review petitions along with all pending applications for hearing on January 22, 2019 before “the appropriate Bench”.
“We make it clear that there is no stay of the judgment dated September 28,” said the Bench, which also included Justices Rohinton Nariman, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra.
Earlier, during the pre-lunch session, a three-judge Bench headed by the CJI had deferred hearing of the fresh petitions on entry of women into Sabarimala temple, saying the writ petitions would be taken up after review petitions were decided.
As per general norms, Tuesday’s hearing on review petitions was done through a procedure called “hearing by circulation” in the chamber of the CJI where parties were not represented by their advocates.
But in exceptional cases, review petitions are heard in open court and parties can be represented by their advocates. The next hearing on January 22 is a sort of concession given by the court in view of the importance of the matter.
Earlier, the Supreme Court had several times refused to give urgent hearing to petitions seeking a review of its ruling lifting age-old restrictions on procreating women from entering the famous Lord Ayyappa Temple at Sabarimala.
The review petitioners contended that “sheer uniqueness” of the Sabarimala Temple made it a fit case for grant of religious denomination status.
By 4:1, a five-judge Constitution Bench headed by then Chief Justice Dipak Misra had declared the practice unconstitutional. Justice Indu Malhotra, the lone woman on the Bench, had dissented.
The majority declared unconstitutional the rule which barred entry of women between 10 and 50 years of age into the temple.
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