Sabarimala row: CJI Rajan Gogoi refuses to hear review petition in open court; Supreme Court defers hearing of fresh petitions

The Chief Justice of India (CJI) Rajan Gogoi on Tuesday refused to hear the review petitions on the Sabarimala entry row in an open court. The apex court also deferred hearing fresh writ petitions in the case and said that they will be heard only after a decision is taken on the review petitions.

"We don't think you are being fair to the Bench; beyond that, I don't want to say anything. The matter will be coming up at 3 pm", CJI Gogoi said while turning down the mentioning request of the advocate presenting the case in the top court.

File image of the Supreme Court of India. AP

File image of the Supreme Court of India. AP

Three fresh writ petitions and forty-nine review petitions have been listed in Supreme Court for hearing on Tuesday. The four writ petitions filed by G Vijayakumar, S Jaya Raj Kumar, Shylaja Vijayan and Akhil Bharathiya Malayalee Sangh will be heard as item 18 in the Court of CJI. Along with CJI Gogoi, Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and KM Joseph will also be on the Bench hearing the writ petitions.

Besides the fresh writ petitions, forty-nine review petitions assailing the judgment of the Supreme Court will also be decided. These review petitions are listed for in-chamber hearing at 3 pm before the Bench of CJI Gogoi and Justices Rohinton Nariman, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra. The rest of the Bench is the same barring CJI Gogoi who has replaced Dipak Misra after he retired as the CJI in October.

On 28 September, a five-judge constitution bench headed by then chief justice Dipak Misra, in its 4:1 verdict, had paved the way for the entry of women of all ages into the Sabarimala temple saying that the ban amounted to gender discrimination. However, the apex court's judgement had led to protests and counter-protests at the hill-top shrine in Kerala.

The court had on 9 October declined an urgent hearing on the review plea filed by an association which had contended that the five-judge Constitution bench's verdict lifting the ban was "absolutely untenable and irrational". Later, the court had said that it would consider the review pleas on 13 November.

One of the pleas filed by the National Ayyappa Devotees Association (NADA), had sought a review of the top court's verdict, saying that "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". Besides the Association, several other petitions including one by Nair Service Society (NSS), have also been filed against the apex court verdict.

The NSS had said in the plea that as the Ayyappa 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," the NSS plea had said.

With inputs from PTI

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Updated Date: Nov 13, 2018 11:46:34 IST

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