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Economic Times | 14 Nov, 2019 | 10.56PM IST

Sabarimala verdict highlights: SC refers to larger bench, debate over entry of women remains

A larger bench will decide whether traditional practices can prevent entry of women at religious places.

!1 New UpdateClick here for latest updates
06:21 PM

Lakhs of women devotees have faith in the temple tradition and protested in huge numbers in support of it. We are hopeful that justice would be delivered upholding the religious rights and pious traditions of Hindus.

- Milind Parande, VHP secretary general

06:19 PM

Unfortunate and unnecessary: Women activists on SC's decision

If the court wanted to look at other petitions they could have done that but to tag it with this case... It is already so delayed and it is unfortunate that there will be more delay in the case: Brinda Karat

What I understand is that till the court order comes, entry is open for women and no one should protest against it. People who say there is no discrimination at all are wrong, because women of specific ages are not allowed there. I am going to offer prayers on November 16: Trupti Desai

SC as a rule rejects review petitions... Review petition in Sec 377 was rejected. But Sabarimala Verdict is referred to larger bench!... SC is giving us the distinct impression that verdicts, treatment of review petitions are influenced by what pleases/displeases those in power : Kavita Krishnan

There is no need to refer it to a larger bench. Unnecessarily widening the scope when there is no justification to do that: Vani Subramanian



05:46 PM

All should accept the verdict of Sabarimala too, like the SC decision on Ayodhya.

- Congress leader Digvijaya Singh

05:44 PM

Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan: As far as we understand the 2018 verdict has not been stayed. But we have to study the verdict closely. At the same time it has has been brought to our notice that the minority judgement spoke strongly that the Kerala govt has to strongly implement the 2018 verdict on allowing women to enter. Wait till we study it.

05:40 PM

Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan: We had said we would abide by the SC verdict whatever it is. The verdict has come. But we still need clarity on what we have to do ( on entry of women for now) Let us study the verdict.

05:31 PM

SC Sabarimala verdict: Focus shifts to Left govt in Kerala

Ahead of the pilgrimage season at the Sabarimala Lord Ayyappa shrine commencing on November 17, the focus has now shifted to the LDF government in Kerala over allowing women in the 10-50 age group to offer prayers. That's because the Supreme Court has decided to keep pending the pleas seeking review of its verdict. Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran said the verdict needs to be studied in detail. When asked if young women will be allowed at the shrine, he said "This is not the time to comment about it."
04:11 PM

Kummanam Rajashekharan, the former state president of the BJP in Kerala, has been quoted as saying: "The government must show restraint and wait for the larger bench's verdict. In case women pilgrims in the banned age group try to offer worship, government must prevent them from doing so."

03:31 PM

What the majority verdict said: The subject review petitions as well as the writ petitions may, accordingly, remain pending until determination of the questions indicated above by a Larger Bench as may be constituted by the Hon’ble Chief Justice of India.

02:40 PM

SC as a rule rejects review petitions...Review petition in Sec 377 was rejected. But Sabarimala Verdict is referred to larger bench!...SC is giving us the distinct impression that verdicts, treatment of review petitions are influenced by what pleases/displeases those in power.

- Kavita Krishnan, Activist

02:36 PM

What about Azan?: BJP creates row post Sabarimala verdict

The ruling BJP has created a row when its spokesperson Sudesh Verma raised the issue of "Azan", an Islamic prayer early in the morning played through loudspeakers, after the Supreme Court's decison on Sabarimala. He told IANS, "You know, there are various orders on morning call of prayers from Masjid or decibel level sound of mics." Verma insinuated when rulings on decibel levels in morning Azan cannot be implemented, so should not the women's entry into Sabarimala.
02:34 PM

Women should be allowed to enter Sabarimala till larger SC bench decides matter: Trupti Desai

Women's rights activist Trupti Desai has said that women should be allowed entry into the Sabarimala temple till a seven-judge Supreme Court bench delivers verdict on the issue. She has vowed to offer prayers at the shrine when it is opened for worship. "What I understand is that till the court order comes, entry is open for women and no one should protest against it. People who say that there is no discrimination at all are wrong, because women of specific ages are not allowed there. I am going to offer prayers on November 16," the Pune-based Desai told reporters after the SC verdict.
01:55 PM

What the Supreme Court wants larger bench to decide

(i) Regarding the interplay between the freedom of religion under Articles 25 and 26 of the Constitution and other provisions in Part III, particularly Article 14.

(ii) What is the sweep of expression ‘public order, morality and health’ occurring in Article 25(1) of the Constitution.

(iii) The expression ‘morality’ or ‘constitutional morality’ has not been defined in the Constitution. Is it over arching morality in reference to preamble or limited to religious beliefs or faith. There is need to delineate the contours of that expression, lest it becomes subjective.

(iv) The extent to which the court can enquire into the issue of a particular practice is an integral part of the religion or religious practice of a particular religious denomination or should that be left exclusively to be determined by the head of the section of the religious group.

(v) What is the meaning of the expression ‘sections of Hindus’ appearing in Article 25(2)(b) of the Constitution.

(vi) Whether the “essential religious practices” of a religious denomination, or even a section thereof are afforded constitutional protection under Article 26.

(vii) What would be the permissible extent of judicial recognition to PILs in matters calling into question religious practices of a denomination or a section thereof at the instance of persons who do not belong to such religious denomination?
01:39 PM

Tharoor welcomes SC verdict

01:36 PM

Activist Trupti Desai welcomes SC's decision on Sabarimala issue

Women rights activist Trupti Desai has welcomed the Supreme Court's decision to refer to a larger bench a batch of review petitions against its September 2018 verdict. "I welcome the decision given by the court today. I feel that the festival is just around the corner so the judicature must have felt that any new decision may instigate violence. But I also believe that the court must make the decision in the matter at the earliest so that the women can offer prayers at the shrine during the festive season," she told ANI.
01:07 PM

The Sabarimala temple will be open from November 16 and the annual two-month-long pilgrim season will begin from November 17.

01:06 PM

As far as our party is concerned, we stand for equal rights for women in all spheres of society. We will have to wait for the final judgment on the issue in the Sabarimala matter.

- Prakash Karat, CPI(M) leader

01:03 PM

We obey the Supreme Court. But Article 25 also gives us some rights. Faith is not above religion. We should celebrate this verdict. Temple or churches are not like roads they are sacred places and private spaces of believers for public worship.

- Activist Rahul Easwaran

01:01 PM

What the minority verdict said

The minority verdict by Justices R F Nariman and D Y Chandrachud gave a dissenting view by dismissing all the review pleas and directing compliance of its September 28 decision.
01:00 PM

Kerala govt shouldn't precipitate the matter: Ram Madhav

12:59 PM

What the majority verdict said

The majority verdict by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices A M Khanwilkar and Indu Malhotra decided to keep pending the pleas seeking a review of its decision regarding the entry of women into the shrine, and said restrictions on women in religious places was not restricted to Sabarimala alone and was prevalent in other religions as well. However, the majority verdict did not say anything adverse against the apex court's September 28, 2018 decision allowing women to enter the shrine nor did it stay the earlier judgement.
12:49 PM

SC's Sabarimala verdict analysed: It may still create issues for Kerala govt


ET Bureau's Samanwaya Rautray analyses the court verdict:
The Supreme Court has referred the Sabarimala review to larger bench but has not stayed an earlier order allowing women between 10 years to 50 to enter the temple of the Ayyappa temple for now. The ruling is expected to be faced with resistance from the Ayyappa followers and pose law and order management issues for the state government. The bench 3:2 said that there was an obvious contradiction between two lines of legal interpretations on the issue. On whether courts should get into what is and essential practice to decide if it's valid or take it as essential and decide if it's valid under India's modern constitution.

This brings the interplay between right to worship and equality guaranteed to women to the fore. Any decision will also impact Muslim women, Parsi women, Dawoodi Bohra women, the court said. Muslim women are awaiting court intervention to get into mosques, Parsi women the right to worship and take part in their parents' last rites. Dawoodi Bohra women are subjected to female genital mutilation and a challenge is pending. Should courts decide that these practices are essential to these religions and leave them alone. Or say that though they may be essential they are against constitutional values of gender justice and equality?

Any such bench of 7 judges may not be set up immediately. Hence the review hearings may take time. Sabarimala review hearing may thus not be immediate much to the displeasure of conservative sections opposed to women in their reproductive phases entering Sabarimala.

Justice RF Nariman and DY Chandrachud dissented to the review being referred to larger bench. Saying it ought to be decided as a standalone issue. In terms of constitutional values such as gender justice.They also took a dim view of kerala govt throwing up its hands on not being able to implement the Sabarimala ruling. That is not an option before any government as that will jeopardise rule of law and lead to chaos. Especially when faced with armed resistance groups. Sabarimala season begins on November 16.

12:34 PM

It was never a case of fundamental right: Santhosh

11:38 AM

What happened in Supreme Court today on Sabarimala verdict

The Supreme Court in a 3:2 verdict has referred all review pleas to a larger seven-judge bench. The court said restrictions on women in religious places was not limited to Sabarimala alone and was prevalent in other religions as well. Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, reading the verdict on behalf of himself and Justices A M Khanwilkar and Indu Malhotra, said the larger bench will decide all such religious issues relating to Sabarimala, entry of women in mosques and practice of female genital mutilation in the Dawoodi Bohra community. The CJI said the endeavour of the petitioners was to revive debate on religion and faith. The apex court, by a majority verdict of 4:1, on September 28, 2018, had lifted the ban that prevented women and girls between the age of 10 and 50 from entering the famous Ayyappa shrine in Kerala and had held that this centuries-old Hindu religious practice was illegal and unconstitutional.
11:36 AM

We will continue with the protests till we are given clarity on the stay

- Rahul Easwar, Hindu Activist

11:31 AM

SC won't overturn ruling allowing women between 10 & 50 to visit Sabarimala, but refers case to 7-judge bench

The Supreme Court on Thursday did not overturn its earlier ruling on the Sabarimala temple, allowing women between the ages of 10 and 50 to visit the temple of God Ayappa but referred it to a larger bench of 7 judges for review.
SC won't overturn ruling allowing women between 10 & 50 to visit Sabarimala, but refers case to 7-judge bench
11:28 AM

I welcome the SC's decision to refer the vexed Sabarimala issue to a larger bench. The issues involved have implications for the practice of all faiths.

- Shashi Tharoor, Congress MP

11:24 AM

Sabarimala Row Explained: Why were women barred & the ensuing legal battle

The Supreme Courtled by CJI Ranjan Gogoi, referred the Sabarimala case to a larger seven-judge bench.
Sabarimala Row Explained: Why were women barred & the ensuing legal battle
11:03 AM

The September 28, 2018 judgement of the Supreme Court - which had lifted the ban that prevented women and girls between the age of 10 to 50 from entering the Sabarimala Temple - was not stayed by the apex court today.

11:00 AM

Sabarimala Verdict: SC refers review petitions against entry of women to Larger Bench

10:54 AM

Sabarimala ruling referred to larger bench for review. SC though does not overturn earlier ruling allowing women to enter.

10:53 AM

Nariman: State must implement order and fulfil constitutional values. Organised acts of resistance to court orders must be put down. It must hold discussions with all stakeholders holders consistent with dignity of all.

10:51 AM

Nariman: Our holy book is the Indian Constitution. Obliges all to enforce this court's orders. If authorities exercise discretion in implementing it will undermine rule of law. Once decision taken binds everyone

10:49 AM

Nariman: Justice Indu Malhotra's fears unfounded. This raises issues of grave gender issues. Can they be excluded from entering a temple due to a physiological phenomona common to all women? Thwarting court orders can't be allowed.

10:47 AM

R F Nariman and DY Chandrachud are dissenting. Nariman reading: This review should be decided separately.When Muslims and Parsi women issues rise they may be decided then by larger benches.

10:44 AM

SC: "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."

10:42 AM

CJI: Apparent conflict between two. Hence referred to larger 7 judge bench. By a 3:2 ruling.

10:41 AM

CJI: One set of rulings say courts should leave essential practices to the particular section. Another says courts have a role.

10:40 AM

CJI: Court cannot leave this to sections of religion to determine. Can PILs be allowed on such issues? Especially when it is filed by another group.

10:39 AM

CJI: These include interplay of width of article 25 (worship) and right to equality

10:38 AM

CJI: These issues are overlapping

10:37 AM

CJI: This issue of women's rights rises in Muslim women and parsi women too. Such as entry of women into mosques

10:37 AM

CJI: This is a bid to revive the debate

10:36 AM

CJI: But both are free to follow their own practices.

10:36 AM

CJI: Essential practice to religion. What is essential to one group may not be essential to another.

10:35 AM

CJI: Review petitions were filed with writ, heard in open court.

10:35 AM

CJI Ranjan Gogoi is reading the verdict.

10:34 AM

The judges are in. They will now read verdict.

10:33 AM

The Kerala Police are on high alert and keeping an eye on social media.

10:32 AM

Hoping for a favourable verdict in Sabarimala case, says activist Rahul Easwar

Social activist Rahul Easwar has said that he is hopeful of a positive verdict by the Supreme Court on review petition in the Sabarimala temple case. Easwar told ANI, "We are all hopeful that a positive verdict will come. It is important if we win, as it will be a great victory for all temples, churches and mosques. We are not saying that faith is above all, we are only asking for what the Constitution allows us under Articles 25 and 26." "We are only asking for the deity's rights and devotee's rights. We hope we will win. Whichever way the decision goes we have a plan B where we are already ready with the curative petition. We will also request for an ordinance from the Central government," he said.
10:31 AM

Political parties, right wing outfits and devotees in Kerala are keeping their fingers crossed. The southern state had witnessed high drama and protests by devotees and right wing activists last year against the CPI(M)-led LDF government's decision to implement the top court's order.

10:28 AM

Kerala govt, TBD committed to implementing SC's verdict on Sabarimala'

Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) president A Padmakumar has said the state government and the Board are committed to implementing the Supreme Court's verdict "The government and the board are committed to implementing the Supreme Court verdict and protect the interests of devotees," said Padmakumar. TDB handles the management of the Sabarimala temple.
10:24 AM

Brief timeline of Sabarimala case

1990- A petition was filed in the Kerala High Court seeking a ban on entry of women inside the Sabarimala temple.

1991- The Kerala High Court had upheld the restriction of women of certain age entry inside the holy shrine of Lord Ayyappa.

2006- A petition was filed in the Supreme Court by the Indian Young Lawyers Association seeking entry of women between 10 to 50 years.

2008- The matter was referred to a three-judge bench two years later.

January 2016- The court had questioned the ban, saying this cannot be done under the Constitution.

April 2016- The United Democratic Front government of Kerala led by Chief Minister Oomen Chandy informed the SC that it is bound to protect the right to practice the religion of Sabarimala devotees.

November 7, 2016- The Kerala Government had told the Supreme Court that it was in favour of allowing women inside the sanctum sanctorum of the temple.

2017- The Supreme Court referred the case to the Constitution bench.

September 2018- A five-judge bench of Supreme Court allowed the entry of women of all ages in the revered shrine. The state government sought time to implement the verdict, however even after the entry was allowed a large number of followers camped outside the shrine prevent the entry of women of all ages.

February 2019- The order was reserved by the Apex court. The order expected to be announced today is likely to uphold or set aside the 2018 order.
09:59 AM

The five-judge constitution had heard the pleas in an open court and reserved its decision after hearing the parties, including Nair Service Society, Thantry of the temple, The Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) and the state government, in favour and against the review plea.

09:55 AM

The pleas are against the apex court's verdict in 2018 which led to huge protests in Kerala. The apex court, by a majority verdict of 4:1, on September 28, 2018, had lifted the ban that prevented women and girls between the age of 10 and 50 from entering the famous Ayyappa shrine in Kerala and had held that this centuries-old Hindu religious practice was illegal and unconstitutional.

09:54 AM

Five-judge constitution bench comprises: Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and justices R F Nariman, A M Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra

09:53 AM

The apex court will deliver its judgement on as many as 65 petitions -- including 56 review petitions and four fresh writ petitions and five transfer pleas -- which were filed after its verdict sparked violent protests in Kerala

09:53 AM

The Supreme Court is scheduled to pronounce at 10.30am its verdict on a batch of petitions seeking re-examination of its decision to allow entry of women of all age group in Kerala's Sabarimala Temple.

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