Sabarimala case: Counsel to relook issues on judgement

Sabarimala case: Counsel to relook issues on judgement

A view of the Supreme Court. (PTI Photo)

The Supreme Court's nine-judge bench on Monday directed for a meeting of all lead counsel on January 17 to finalise the issues, arising out of Sabarimala case judgement, for its authoritative pronouncement.

Chief Justice of India S A Bobde led bench decided to put the matter for consideration after three weeks.

The top court also clarified that it would go "chronologically" and decide "older problems" first as senior advocate Indira Jaising submitted that there should not be a delay in hearing on petitions related to Citizenship Amendment Act.

Taking up the reference matter, the bench said Secretary-General of the Supreme Court will attend the meeting on January 17, to be attended by senior advocates A M Singhvi, Indira Jaising, Rajeev Dhavan, V Giri and Solicitor General Tushar Mehta.

The meeting would consider to "reframe or add any issues" for decision by the larger nine-judge bench.

Dealing with review petitions against the 2018 Sabarimala judgement, a five-judge had on November 14, 2019, said similar pending questions related to Muslim women's right to enter 'dargah' and mosque, and permission to Parsi women, married to a non-Parsi, into the holy fireplace of an 'Agyari' and practice of female genital mutilation among Dawoodi Bohar community would require authoritative determinations.

On Monday, at the outset, the bench said, "We are not hearing review petition, we are hearing questions framed by a five-judge bench."

Jaising contended that a decision on review petitions against the Sabarimala judgement of 2018 allowing entry of all age group women to Lord Ayappa temple in Kerala, should be a precondition to answer the questions framed in November 2019.

"These are purely academic and it can't be devoid of facts," she said, adding the Hindu, the Muslim and the Parsi laws are governed by different regimes.

Senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, appearing for himself as an intervenor, said: it can't be decided in devoid of facts. I am a trenchant critic of essential practice doctrine."

"I don't see how freedom of religion can be restricted," he added.

To this, the CJI said, we can refer to facts and can decide the questions.

"We are thinking of listing all writ petitions before us. Whatever is incapable of decision, we will not decide," the bench said.

Senior advocate A M Singhvi pointed out that there was a need to reframe issues framed by the five-judge bench for determination by this larger bench.

During the hearing, the practice of Santhara among Jain community and rights of Shwetambar Jain community women were also raised. Swami Agnivesh of Bandhua Mukti Morcha also sought to intervene in the matter.

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