THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The five-member Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court to hear significant cases, including the one pertaining to the entry of women in Sabarimala, will now have a woman judge — Justice Indu Malhotra, who was recently appointed. The SC on Friday announced the setting up of a new Constitution Bench with Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A M Khanwilkar, Justice D Y Chandrachud, Justice R F Nariman and Justice Indu Malhotra. It has been pointed out Malhotra’s inclusion could bring in a new perspective while hearing issues related to gender equality.
The issue of women entering Sabarimala temple was referred to the Constitution Bench by a three-judge bench headed by the Chief Justice. It has raised some significant questions which include - “Whether the exclusionary practice which is based on a biological factor exclusive to the female gender amounts to ‘discrimination’ and thereby violates the very core of Articles 14, 15 and 17 and not protected by ‘morality’ as used in Articles 25 and 26 of the Constitution.”
A couple of other important cases, including criminalisation of homosexuality, adultery law and whether a legislator is to be disqualified at the stage of framing of charge against him, are also before the apex court’s Constitution Bench.