The Supreme Court will reportedly hear 49 petitions on its controversial Sabarimala verdict, originally delivered on September 28.

Sabarimala review petitions to be heard in Supreme Court on Tuesday
news Sabarimala Tuesday, November 13, 2018 - 08:25

As reported by Bar and Bench, the Supreme Court will hear 49 petitions on its controversial Sabarimala verdict, originally delivered on September 28. These petitions are to be heard four days before the temple reopens for its annual three-month long Mandalam-Makaravilaku pilgrimage on November 17.

The 49 review petitions, pleading with the Supreme Court to reconsider its September 28 judgement, are scheduled to be heard by a bench comprising of CJI Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Rohinton Nariman, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra at 3 pm, according to reports. This will be an in-chamber hearing, meaning that it will not be held in open court. 

Livelaw reports that the review petitions rely heavily on the dissenting judgement of the only female judge on the bench that delivered the September 28 verdict, J Indu Malhotra, contending that constitutional parameters of rationality cannot be applied blindly to matters of faith.

Livelaw says that the review petitions claim that the court erred in hearing the PIL as the petitioners did not have locus standi, or the right or the capacity to bring a case to the court. The petitions claim that no women devotees of Ayyappa would want to enter the temple, and hence the Court should not have heard the case petitioned by a party that is alien to the temple’s customs. The original petition was filed by the Delhi-based Indian Young Lawyers Association.

Finally, the petitions also say that the SC erred in ruling that the ban on women entering the temple was based on the “physiological nature” of women. They contend that it was instead based on the “eternally celibate” nature of the particular deity, and therefore the practice is not derogatory to the dignity of women.

Three fresh writ petitions on the issue filed by G Vijayakumar, S Jaya Raj Kumar and Shylaja Vijayan were also scheduled to be heard by a bench comprising of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, J Sanjay Kishan Kaul and J KM Joseph in the Court of the CJI at 10 AM on Tuesday. However, on Tuesday morning, the judges deferred the hearings, saying that they would be heard subject to the results of the review petitions. 

Sabarimala and the various base camps located on it have been the site of violent protests, with several women who approached the shrine after the controversial verdict being attacked and physically stopped from ascending the hill and entering the shrine by unruly protesters. The angry men gathered there also attacked several women journalists who were in the area to carry out their work of reporting on the issue. The state of Kerala has also seen widespread protests by both women and men against the SC’s ruling in this case.

The LDF-led government of Kerala is in favour of the SC ruling allowing women’s temple entry. Both the Congress and the BJP have said they are against it, with both parties conducting spirited rallies and protests against the judgement and the government’s attempts to implement it. 

As reported in The Times of India, in a separate case being heard in the Kerala HC, responding to a plea filed by BJP leader TG Mohandas, the government has told the Court that members of all faiths are allowed inside Sabarimala temple, and entry should not, as Mohandas pled, be restricted to Hindus only. 


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