Justice Indu Malhotra was the lone dissenting judge when the Supreme Court in September 2018 ruled 4:1 in favour of women’s entry into Sabarimala.

With Justice Malhotra on leave SC unlikely to hear Sabarimala review pleas on Jan 22PTI
news Sabarimala Tuesday, January 15, 2019 - 12:32

The Supreme Court is unlikely to hear review petitions against the entry of women into Sabarimala temple on January 22 as Justice Indu Malhotra is on medical leave. The review petitions against the Supreme Court’s September 28 verdict were listed before a bench comprising of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Rohinton Nariman, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra.

According to Bar and Bench, when advocate Mathews Nedumpara made a mention of the matter, CJI Ranjan Gogoi stated in open court that the bench may not be available since  Justice Indu Malhotra is on medical leave. When asked about the next course of action, the CJI stated, “We will see.”

As many as 49 review petitions have been filed seeking a review of the judgment that allowed the entry of women of all ages into Sabarimala. On November 13, the court had set aside the hearing of the petitions to January 22. But the court said that “we make it clear that there is no stay of the judgment and order of this Court dated 28th September.”

On September 28, the Supreme Court in a 4:1 majority ruling lifted the ban on the entry of women between the ages 10 to 50 into the Sabarimala temple in Kerala. The SC bench, comprising the then Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman, Justice AM Khanwilkar, Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice Indu Malhotra, observed that Article 25, the right to practice religion, is applicable to both men and women and struck down Rule 3(b) of the Kerala Hindu Places of Public Worship (Authorisation of Entry) Rules, 1965. Justice Indu Malhotra was the lone dissenting judge who ruled against lifting the ban and had observed that issues of deep religious sentiments should not be ordinarily be interfered by the Court.

After the verdict, Rahul Easwar led Ayyappa Dharma Sena, followed by several Hindu organisations, moved the Supreme Court to appeal against their verdict.

Since the SC’s verdict, reports suggest that at least 10 women below the age of 50 have offered prayers at the temple.

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