Sabarimala: 9-judge SC bench to decide relevant questions

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The CJI conveyed this to a group of lawyers appearing in the matter when they mentioned the matter before a three-judge bench headed by him on Thursday. (File)

The Supreme Court on Thursday expressed disappointment that lawyers for the various sides in the matter relating to discrimination against women in various religions and at religious places, including Sabarimala Temple, had not been able to arrive at a consensus on the questions to be decided by its nine-judge bench.

Chief Justice of India S A Bobde said that on February 3, the nine judges would look into the questions suggested by the various sides, take a final call on which are the relevant ones to be answered, and fix modalities for the hearing.

The CJI conveyed this to a group of lawyers appearing in the matter when they mentioned the matter before a three-judge bench headed by him on Thursday.

Senior Advocate Indira Jaising said the petitions challenging the amendments to Article 370 were also pending before the court and said it should decide which to hear first.

To this, the CJI said, “that was given priority, but...I think we will have to start with this (Sabarimala)”.

“We will decide what is the best course of action,” he said, adding that the final decision was not likely to make everyone happy.

On January 13, the court had asked the lawyers to sit together and draw up the questions to be decided. Subsequently, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta had informed the bench that a consensus could not be arrived at and urged the bench to frame the issues to be decided.