Sabarimala case: SC refers review petitions to seven-judge bench

RTI, CJI
The Supreme Court agreed to list the woman devotees' plea to enter Sabrimala temple for hearing next week.

The Supreme Court on Thursday (November 14) said a larger seven-judge bench will re-examine various religious issues, including the entry of women into the Sabarimala temple and mosques and the practice of female genital mutilation in the Dawoodi Bohra community.

While the five-judge bench unanimously agreed to refer the religious issues to a larger bench, a majority verdict by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and justices AM Khanwilkar and Indu Malhotra decided to keep pending the pleas seeking a review of its decision regarding the entry of women into Sabarimala.

Also read: SC to deliver judgement on review petition in Sabarimala temple case 

However, the majority verdict did not say anything adverse against the apex court’s September 28, 2018 decision allowing women to enter the shrine nor did it stay the earlier judgement.

The minority verdict by justices RF Nariman and DY Chandrachud gave a dissenting view by dismissing all the review pleas and directing compliance of its September 28 decision. The split decision came on as many as 65 petitions — including 56 review petitions and four fresh writ petitions and five transfer pleas — which were filed after the apex court verdict of September last year sparked violent protests in Kerala.

The apex court, by a majority verdict of 4:1, on September 28, 2018, had lifted the ban that prevented women and girls between the age of 10 and 50 from entering the famous Ayyappa shrine in Kerala and held that the centuries-old Hindu religious practice was illegal and unconstitutional.