Update: (4.30 PM) Supreme Court Bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, in his personal chamber has agreed to hear the forty nine review petitions that challenges the 28 September verdict which held that women, irrespective of their age, have the right to enter the Temple in Kerala, reports Bar and Bench.
The court decided to hear the petitions on 22 January. The apex court however said that “We make it clear that there is no stay of judgment dated 28 September.”
(1.00 PM) Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph had today set aside the hearing on fresh petitions pertaining to the entry of menstruating women between the ages of 10 and 50 years to the Sabarimala Temple, reports Live Law.
“First the review petitions will be heard. After the orders on the review petitions, we will deal with these writ petitions. Please wait till 3 PM. If the review pleas are dismissed, we will take up the writ petitions. If they are allowed, we will tag the writ petitions with the review”, stated the Chief Justice.
A Supreme Court bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices RF Nariman, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra will consider the review petitions filed against the Sabarimala judgement at 3 pm on Tuesday (13 November), reports Live Law.
As many as 48 petitions were filed in the 28 September Supreme Court verdict, which permitted women of all age groups inside the Sabarimala temple in Kerala. The review petitions will be heard in the CJI’s chamber and there will not be an open court hearing.
The petitioners contend that the court erred in entertaining the PIL without examining the locus standi of the petitioner. The petitioners will argue that no woman devotee of Lord Ayyappa would want to visit Sabarimala temple, and hence, the court proceeded to adjudicate on a petition filed by a party who is totally alien to the temple customs and ethos.
The review petitioners will reiterate the arguments by Sai Deepak, a lawyer representing People For Dharma, that the deity has rights to practise and preserve its Dharma, including its vow of Naishtika Brahmacharya under Article 25(1) and has the right to expect the privacy of that character under Article 21.
The review petition also draws from the dissenting judgement of Justice Indu Malhotra. She noted that deep religious sentiments should not be interfered with by courts, unless there is truly an aggrieved party bringing attention to the same. She also emphasised that the deity, the celibate Swami Ayyappa, and the practices around him, were protected under article 25 of the Constitution.
The Constitutional bench headed by then CJI Dipak Misra had, in a widely criticised verdict, allowed the entry of women of all age groups in the Lord Ayyappa shrine. Justices Rohinton Nariman, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra were others judges on the bench.
As per the practice governing review petitions, the plea is heard by the same bench which had delivered the verdict. But the pleas seeking to revisit the verdict in the case will be heard by CJI Gogoi because then CJI Misra is now retired.
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