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With Lone Woman Judge on Medical Leave, SC May Not Start Hearing Sabarimala Review Pleas From January 22

File photo of the Supreme Court.

File photo of the Supreme Court.

On September 28 last year, a five-judge Constitution bench, headed by the then Chief Justice Dipak Misra, in a 4:1 verdict had paved the way for entry of women of all ages into the Sabarimala temple saying the ban amounted to gender discrimination.

  • PTI
  • Last Updated: January 15, 2019, 7:47 PM IST
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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday said it may not start hearing pleas seeking a review of the Sabarimala verdict from January 22 as one of the judges is on medical leave.

On September 28 last year, a five-judge Constitution bench, headed by the then Chief Justice Dipak Misra, in a 4:1 verdict had paved the way for entry of women of all ages into the Sabarimala temple saying the ban amounted to gender discrimination.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said on Tuesday that Justice Indu Malhotra, the lone woman judge of the five-judge constitution bench which delivered the verdict allowing all women inside the Sabarimala temple, is on leave "due to some medical reasons".

The bench, which also comprised Justices L Nageswara Rao and S K Kaul, spoke about the unavailability of Justice Malhotra when lawyer Mathews J Nedumpara, appearing for the National Ayyappa Devotees' Association (NADA), mentioned the plea and sought video recording and live streaming of the proceedings in the Sabarimala case. NADA has sought live streaming of the hearing saying it would ensure that "justice is made accessible to common man".

If the proceedings are allowed to be telecast, millions of devotees of Lord Ayyappa, not merely in Kerala, but all over the world, will have the opportunity to hear and watch what transpired in the court, it said.

Earlier, the apex court had decided to hear in open court the review petitions against the verdict. Besides Justice Malhotra and the CJI, Justices R F Nariman, A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud are part of the five-judge constitution bench.

Justice Malhotra had delivered the dissenting judgement in the case. There are around 48 petitions seeking review of the judgement and they were filed following the violent protests in favour and against the verdict.

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