The Supreme Court has notified a nine-judge Bench to hear from January 13 review petitions against its verdict allowing entry of women of all ages in Sabarimala temple, clubbed with entry of women to Muslim and Parsi places of worship.
The Bench, details of which were uploaded on the apex court website, will be headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde and comprise justices R. Banumathi, Ashok Bhushan, L. Nageswara Rao, Mohan M. Shantanagoudar, S. Abdul Nazeer, R. Subhash Reddy, B.R. Gavai and Surya Kant.
Interestingly, the two judges — Justice R.F. Nariman and D.Y. Chandrachud, who had ruled in favour of the entry of women of all ages in Kerala’s Sabarimala temple — are not on the Bench. Justice Indu Malhotra who ruled against the entry of women is not part of the Bench.
Justice Banumathi is the only women judge on the Bench.
The apex court had issued notice on Monday in connection with listing of pleas filed by the Indian Young Lawyers Association seeking review of the court’s 2018 judgment allowing women and girls of all ages to enter the Sabarimala temple.
“Take notice that the following matters will be listed for hearing before a 9-judge Constitution Bench, commencing 13 January, 2020,” the notice said.
A five-judge Bench had, in a 3:2 majority verdict on November 14, referred to a seven-judge Bench the pleas seeking review of the 2018 judgement. The top court clubbed the curbs faced by Muslim women in connection with entry to mosques and dargahs and Parsi women, married to non-Parsi men, being discriminated from entering the Fire Temple.
The majority verdict noted that it was essential to evolve a judicial policy to do “substantial and complete justice”. The court observed the issues surrounding the constitutional validity of religious practices, which discriminate against women specifically in connection with entry to a place of worship were not limited to the Sabarimala temple case.