Supreme Court to hear Sabarimala verdict review pleas on November 13
Will the Supreme Court review its Sabarimala verdict? The court today decided that it will hear the petitions seeking a review of the Supreme Court verdict on Sabarimala on November 13.
In all, there are 19 petitions before the Supreme Court seeking a review of the Sabarimala verdict.
The bench on Monday considered the submissions of lawyer Mathews J Nedumpara, who represented Shylaja Vijayan, the president of the National Ayyappa Devotees Association. This review petition has emerged as the lead petition in the case and is listed for hearing today.
The petition seeks review of the Supreme Court's Sabarimala verdict on the ground that "faith cannot be judged by scientific or rationale reasons or logic". The Supreme Court had on October 9 declined an urgent hearing on Nedumpara's plea.
A five-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court headed by the then CJI Dipak Misra on September 28 had declared that the law banning entry of women of menstruating age in the Sabarimala temple was unconstitutional. It was not a unanimous judgment with one of the judges upholding the ban on entry of women into the Sabarimala shrine as valid.
Lifting the centuries-old ban, the Supreme Court allowed women of all age groups to enter and offer prayers at the Kerala shrine that had banned their entry in the age-group of 10-50 years. The petition contends that the five-judge Constitution bench verdict lifting the ban is "absolutely untenable and irrational".
Hearing In CJI's Chamber
The review petition will not be heard in an open court. It will be heard by CJI Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Kaul in the former's chamber.
The petition says, "The notion that the judgment under review is revolutionary, one which removes the stigma or the concept of dirt or pollution associated with menstruation, is unfounded."
"It is a judgment welcomed by hypocrites, who were aspiring for media headlines. On the merits of the case, as well, the said judgment is absolutely untenable and irrational, if not perverse."
The petitioner says the Sabarimala verdict by the Supreme Court last month was delivered "without jurisdiction or in excess of jurisdiction" and "that it is in violation of principles of natural justice and that it is in violation of express constitutional provisions."
Nair Service Society Is Also There
Apart from the National Ayyappa Devotees Association, the Nair Service Society (NSS) has also moved a review petition. The NSS works for the uplift and welfare of the Nair community in Kerala.
The NSS has contended that the age-old practice is not discriminatory as it does not exclude worship of the presiding deity by women. It argues that as the deity is a Naistika Brahmachari (eternal celibate), women below the age of 10 and over 50 years are eligible to worship him.
"The delay or wait for 40 years to worship cannot be considered as exclusionary and it is an error of law on the face of the judgment," the NSS petition says.
The NSS has sought protection under fundamental right to freedom of religion. It says that if the Supreme Court verdict is implemented many essential religious practices will be rendered void.
Religion itself may be rendered out of existence, the NSS argues, if the general ground of equality under Article 14 is resorted to and essential religious practices are tested on the principle of rationality.
At Ground Zero
Meanwhile, Sabarimala temple and pilgrim centres related to the shrine saw several tense moments and clashes over the past five days after it was opened for darshan on October 17. Monday was the last day for monthly ritualistic prayer at the Sabarimala shrine.
Various groups of woman activists tried to enter the temple during these five days leading to clashes with protesters. Nearly a dozen woman activists were sent back from the Sabarimala trek route by angry protesters opposing the implementation of the Supreme Court verdict.
The last attempt was made on Monday when Bindu, a Dalit activist, tried to enter the Sabarimala temple. Hundreds of protesters were camping at the Sabarimala Sannidhanam temple complex to prevent women of menstruating age from entering the shrine.