NEW DELHI: A nine-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court will hear from January 13 the review petitions against its 2018 ruling on allowing women and girls of all ages to enter the Sabarimala temple in Kerala. The court will also alongside take up pleas on alleged discrimination against women in other communities in matters of religion.
The court had last month indicated that the review petitions will be heard by a seven- judge bench. However, a fresh notice issued by the SC on Monday said the case would be heard by a nine-judge bench.
On November 14 last year, a five-judge constitution bench had, in a 3:2 majority verdict, referred to a larger bench the petitions seeking review of its historic 2018 judgement allowing women and girls of all ages to enter Sabarimala temple.
The court had, however, said that the constitutional validity of religious practices like bar on entry of women and girls into a place of worship was not limited to the Sabarimala case.
Such restrictions also existed with regard to entry of Muslim women into mosques and dargah, and Parsi women married to non-Parsi men from the holy fire place of an Agyari, the bench had said, adding that it was time for the apex court to evolve a judicial policy to do “substantial and complete justice”.
“There is yet another seminal issue pending for consideration in this Court regarding the powers of the constitutional courts to tread on question as to whether a particular practice is essential to religion or is an integral of the religion, in respect of female genital mutilation in Dawoodi Bohra community,” the court had ruled.
A five-judge bench had, by a 4:1 verdict, ended a ban on the entry of women to the 800-year-old shrine in 2018. A bunch of 65-odd petitions were filed against the verdict.
‘Can’t use pendency of plea to stall insolvency’
The SC on Monday directed Vijay Mallya to not use pending proceedings in the court to stall legal proceedings anywhere else in the world. The order was passed after Solicitor General Tushar Mehta informed the SC that insolvency proceedings against Mallya are pending in a UK court and Mallya has sought that a judgment should not be passed because the issue is pending before the SC. “They’ve been saying since 2011 that ‘we will pay everything’, but not a single rupee has been paid so far,” Mehta said.