SC to decide review petitions on Sabarimala tomorrow

The Supreme Court will decide on hearing a batch of petitions seeking recall of a Constitution Bench verdict permitting women in the age group of 10 to 50 years entry into the Sabarimala temple in Kerala, tomorrow. A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Sanjay Krishan Kaul said the bench-led by former Chief Justice Dipak Misra that pronounced the landmark verdict on September 28 has to be reconstituted.

The bench considered Lawyer Mathews J Nedumpara’s submission that his petition seeking review of the constitutional bench judgment be listed for urgent hearing. Nedumpara was mentioning the petition filed by National Ayyappa Devotees Association. The court had initially on October 9 declined an urgent hearing on Nedumpara’s plea which had contended that the five-judge Constitution bench verdict lifting the ban was “absolutely untenable and irrational”.

There are 19 petitions before the top court seeking the recall of the verdict that had junked the centuries old practice prohibiting the entry women who are in the of menstruating age. Contending that religious practices cannot be “tested on the basis of rationality”, the petitioners have sought a recall of the verdict raising points of procedural error in the judgment.

The petition filed by Shylaja Vijayan, president, National Ayyappa Devotees Association through Nedumpara, had submitted that, “Faith cannot be judged by scientific or rationale reasons or logic”.

“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 petition had submitted.

Besides the Association, another petition seeking review of the September 28 verdict of the apex court had also been filed by the Nair Service Society (NSS), an organisation for the uplift and welfare of the Nair community. It had said that as the deity is a ‘Naistika Brahmachari, females below the age of 10 and after the age of 50 years are eligible to worship him and there is no practice of excluding worship by females.

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