Supreme Court Declines Urgent Hearing On Sabarimala Verdict

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The Supreme Court will hear the petitions seeking review on Sabarimala verdict on November 13.

New Delhi:

The Supreme Court on Wednesday declined early hearing on petitions seeking review of its September 28 verdict allowing women of all age groups into the Sabarimala temple in Kerala, and said they have been already listed for hearing.

A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices UU Lalit and K M Jospeh was told by a lawyer that the pleas, including the review petitions, be accorded urgent hearing.

"The Sabarimala temple is opening only for 24 hours between November 5 and November 6 and we have fixed the hearing on November 13," the top court said.

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When the lawyer persisted with his plea for urgent hearing, the bench said, "All you have to do is to wait for your turn."

The court had said earlier that it would hear on November 13 the petitions seeking review of its September 28 verdict allowing women of all age groups into the Sabarimala temple.

The five-judge constitution bench headed by the then Chief Justice Dipak Misra, in its 4:1 verdict, had paved the way for entry of women of all ages into the temple saying that the ban amounted gender discrimination.

Fresh petitions, which included the one filed by National Ayyappa Devotees Association (NADA) and 19 review petitions, would be listed for hearing at 3 PM on November 13, the bench had said.

The top court's verdict has led to protests and counter-protests at the hill-top shrine in Kerala.

The petition filed by Shylaja Vijayan, president, NADA through Nedumpara, had submitted that, "Faith cannot be judged by scientific or rationale reasons or logic".

"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 petition had submitted.

"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," the plea had said.

Besides the Association, several other petitions including the Nair Service Society (NSS) have been filed against the top court verdict.

The NSS had 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," the plea had said.

The NSS had said that 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.

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