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No Open Court Hearing of 19 Review Petitions Against Supreme Court’s Sabarimala Verdict

Prior to the review petitions being heard, there are also three writ petitions that have been filed against the SC verdict. These writ petitions would be heard in the open court.

Debayan Roy | News18.com

Updated:November 12, 2018, 6:40 PM IST
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No Open Court Hearing of 19 Review Petitions Against Supreme Court’s Sabarimala Verdict
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New Delhi: All 19 review petitions against the Constitution Bench verdict in the Sabarimala case allowing women of all ages to enter the temple will be clubbed and heard by a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi at 3pm on Tuesday.

However, the review petitions will be heard in chambers of the CJI and there will not be an open court hearing.

Since former Chief Justice Dipak Misra has now retired, CJI Gogoi will be his replacement on the bench that had delivered the landmark verdict, lifting the ban on entry of menstruating women in the Lord Ayyappa shrine in Kerala.

Justices Rohinton Nariman, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra are the others on the bench. As the review petition standard is, the petition is heard by the same bench which had delivered the verdict.

It remains to be seen whether the bench deems fit to refer the case to a larger bench or admit and hear the case in merit before the five judge bench itself.

Prior to the review petitions being heard, there are also three writ petitions that have been filed against the SC verdict under Article 32 of the Constitution, stating that the ruling violated the fundamental rights of the devotees.

These writ petitions would be heard in the open court and the possibility of review petitions being heard in the open court will be discussed during the in-chamber hearing.

The SC verdict had led to violent protests at the base camps outside the hill shrine as devotees and several Hindu outfits blocked women from entering the temple when it opened for six days in October.

At least 12 women in the 10-50 age group had made a failed attempt to trek the hills and had to return following the protests. Even women over the age of 50 were stopped at Sabarimala and were only allowed to pass through after showing proof of their age.

The BJP and the Congress both blamed the Pinarayi Vijayan government in Kerala for implementing the verdict in a “hurry” and are taking out protest rallies through the state to protect the “traditions and customs” of the temple.

The petition filed by Shylaja Vijayan, president of the National Ayyappa Devotees Association through Mathews J Nedumpara, submitted that faith cannot be judged by scientific or rationale reasons or logic.

However Nedumpara has told News18 that the association has filed two petitions. “One of our petitions is under Article 32 and is a substantive writ petition, whereas the second one is a normal review petition under Article 137,” Nedumpara told News18.

National Ayyappa Devotees Association in its review petition has stated that the petitioners in the original case were not devotees of Lord Ayyappa, thus there was no ‘cause of action’ to invoke the jurisdiction of the court.

In addition to challenging the judgment based on jurisdictional aspect, the petition also claims the violation of the petitioners’ “fundamental right, namely, liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship, embodied in the preamble to the Constitution; so too Article 25 thereof”.

The Nair Service Society (NSS), an outfit of Kerala's influential Nair community, is one of the bodies to have filed a petition seeking review of the verdict. NSS has even held protests with its members chanting Ayyappa mantra across the state to mark its Flag Day.

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| Edited by: Aakarshuk Sarna
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