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Breaking: Supreme Court Refers Sabarimala Review Petitions To Larger Bench

Breaking: Supreme Court Refers Sabarimala Review Petitions To Larger Bench

The Supreme Court today (November 14, 2019) referred to a larger bench a batch of review petitions against its September 2018 verdict allowing entry of women of all age groups into the Sabarimala temple.

While Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud dissented, Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar, Justice Indu Malhotra sent the Sabarimala review to a larger Bench expressing that the issue whether Court can interfere in essential practices of religion needed examination by a larger Bench.

"The entry of women into places of worship is not limited to this temple only. It is also involved in the entry of women into mosques," CJI Gogoi said while reading out the verdict. 

The apex court passed the order on a series of petitions seeking reconsideration of its September 28, 2018, judgment that struck down Rule 3(b) of the Kerala Hindu Places of Public Worship (Authorisation of Entry) Rules, 1965, to allow entry of women, irrespective of their age, into the Sabarimala Ayyappa temple in Kerala.

The Constitution Bench by 4:1 majority held that Rule 3(b) of 1965 Rules which bars entry of women between the ages of 10 and 50 years into the Sabarimala temple is a clear violation of right of Hindu women to practice religion under Article 25 of the Constitution of India.

The only woman judge on the Constitution Bench, Justice Indu Malhotra, however, dissented from the majority opinion. She held that religious practices cannot be solely tested on the basis of Article 14 of the Constitution of India.

The popular verdict resulted into a series of protests across the state. In total 56 petitions were filed seeking review of the top court's order. The Court had heard the review petitions and writ petitions in open court before reserving its verdict on February 6 this year.

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