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Sabarimala verdict: SC to decide tomorrow date for hearing review petitions

“We know that there are 19 review petitions pending. By tomorrow we will decide,” says Bench.

The Supreme Court on Monday said it would decide on October 23 as to when the petitions seeking review of its Sabarimala verdict allowing entry of women of all age groups into the temple, will be listed for hearing.

A Bench, comprising Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justice S.K. Kaul considered the submissions of lawyer Mathews J. Nedumpara that his petition seeking review of the Constitution Bench judgment be listed for urgent hearing.

“We know that there are 19 review petitions pending. By tomorrow we will decide,” the Bench said.

Mr. Nedumpara was mentioning the petition filed by the National Ayyappa Devotees Association.

A five-judge Constitution Bench by a ratio of 4:1 had held that women of all age groups should be allowed entry into the hill shrine in Kerala.

On October 9, the court declined an urgent hearing of Mr. Nedumpara’s plea, which contended that the Constitution Bench verdict was “absolutely untenable and irrational”.

The Bench had said the review petitions could be taken up only after the Dussehra vacation, adding that in any case, it will be heard in chamber and not in open court.

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

It said, “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 Hindu editorial on Sabarimala

The plea said, “Review judgment and order…on the ground that it is unconstitutional and void inasmuch as it is vitiated by errors apparent on the face of the record; that it is without jurisdiction or in excess of jurisdiction, that it is in violation of principles of natural justice and that it is in violation of express constitutional provisions.”

Besides the Association, the Nair Service Society (NSS) had filed a petition seeking a review of the verdict. It 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. Hence, 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 judgement.”

Many essential religious practices will be rendered void and religion itself may be rendered out of existence if the general ground of equality under Article 14 is resorted to and essential religious practices are tested on the principle of rationality, the plea had said.

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