Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday stated that his government has sought more clarity on the Supreme Court's decision to transfer the review petitions to a 7-judge bench. The CM told the media that upholding of the 2018 verdict of the SC allowing women to enter the temple will be decided based on the clarifications recieved.
“Will the 7-judge Constitution bench only hear the legal points around gender equality in the Sabarimala issue? Or will the whole case now be reheard by the bench? We need more clarity on this,” said Pinarayi Vijayan. He added that the new verdict had not reversed the earlier stance of the SC, which meant that the 2018 judgement which allowed women to enter Sabarimala would remain.
The 5-judge Constitution bench in a 3:2 majority judgment referred the Sabarimala issue to a 7-judge bench and posed seven questions for the larger bench to answer. The court said that matters which include interpretation of the Constitutional provisions that talk about the right to profess, practice and propagate religion should be heard by a larger bench.
The Kerala Chief Minister, however, pointed out that the 5-judge bench while giving their verdict did not issue a stay on the 2018 SC verdict. “When a stay was demanded on the 2018 verdict of the Supreme Court which allowed women to enter Sabarimala, the court did not allow this. The new verdict maintains the status quo,” he added.
The CM further said that whatever stance the court took, the government had earlier decided to follow it.
The 5-judge Constitution bench was considering review petitions (including review pleas and writs) against its 2018 verdict, which granted entry to women in the menstruating age group into Sabarimala. Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justices AM Khanwilkar and Indu Malhotra delivered the majority judgment and Justices RF Nariman and DY Chandrachud wrote a dissenting judgment.