Seven Judge Bench to Review Sabarimala Case, No Clarity on Women’s Entry

Sabarimala Temple | Photo: Facbook/SabarimalaOfficial

The Supreme Court took a major decision in the controversial Sabarimala temple case on Thursday.The Supreme Court has not taken up the immediate review of the perditions challenging its decision to allow women’s entry into the temple but instead referred the matter to a larger constitutional bench. This decision was taken up by the majority of 3:2  with two judges of the bench- Justice R.F. Norman and D.Y. Chandrachud-dissenting. 

The five judge Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi has reserved its decision for February 6. The other members of the bench were justices R.F. Norman, A.M. Khanwilkar, D.Y. Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra. Now the matter has been referred to a larger constitutional bench and its decision has been kept pending. This bench will re-examine various religious issues, including the entry of women into mosques and the practice of female genital mutilation in the Dawoodi Bohra community. While the five-judge constitutional bench collectively agreed to peer the religious issues to a larger bench, it had given a 3:2 split decision on petitions seeking a review of the apex court’s decision on September 2018. The bench observed that restrictions on women’s entry wasn’t something unique to Sabarimala but was prevalent in other religions too. However, the majority verdict did not comment anything averse against the apex court’s decision that allowed women’s entry into the shrine and did not put a stay order on its previous judgement. Till now we have no clarity if women are allowed the enter the shrine, which is scheduled to open for worship from November 17. The Kerala government had observed a conflicting stand on the Sabarimala temple and supported the verdict and urged the Supreme Court to trash the review pleas.


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