SC to hear Sabarimala review pleas on Nov 13

Just three weeks after the Supreme Court permitted women of all ages to enter the Sabarimala temple, the Court today said it will hear on November 13 the petitions seeking review of its judgment last month that allowed women of all age to enter the Sabarimala temple in Kerala.

The temple will open again on November 5 for one day and will reopen on November 16 for a period of twelve days. The hearing will take place before the temple re-opens for the second time. The petitions have been filed by the National Ayyappa Devotees Association (NADA), a voluntary outfit which was not a party to the original case, and by a devotee Jaya Rajkumar.

Despite the Supreme Court’s verdict, the temple administration did not allow any woman to enter the shrine since it opened earlier last week. Twelve women in the age groups of 10-50 were stopped by protesters from reaching the temple.

The Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi said that the review please will be heard on November 13 at 3 pm. The petitions had sought a review of the September 28 verdict by a majority bench of the then CJI Dipak Misra, Justices RF Nariman, AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud. The lone judge to dissent was Justice Indu Malhotra.

In a review plea, the matter is heard in chambers by judges who earlier heard the matter. Since Justice Misra’s retirement, CJI Gogoi will have to depute a judge in his place. A review petition also requires the court to consider whether the judgment under challenge committed an error in law or oversaw a substantial question of law or a fact in coming to its conclusion. This is often a difficult benchmark to meet for which most review petitions get dismissed.

However, if the Court decides that a case to hear the review petition is made out, the petitions will be listed in open court where the issues raised will be debated. In one of the review petitions filed by Nair Service Society, the logic applied by the majority bench has been countered on the basis that rationality cannot be a ground to test essential religious practices.

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