Nine-judge SC bench to hear issue of women’s entry in Sabarimala temple from today A nine-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court is scheduled to commence today hearing a batch of pleas on the issue of allowing women of all ages to enter Sabarimala temple in Kerala. The bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde will hear a batch of 60 petitions which also include issues of discrimination against Muslim and Parsi women.
The other judges on the bench are Justices R Banumathi, Ashok Bhushan, L Nageswara Rao, MM Shantanagoudar, SA Nazeer, R Subhash Reddy, BR Gavai and Surya Kant. The nine-judge bench was set up after a five-judge bench headed by then CJI Ranjan Gogoi, by a 3:2 majority verdict, referred the matter to a larger bench while examining the review petition filed against the September 28, 2018 judgement which had allowed women of all ages to enter the Sabarimala temple.
While referring the matter to a larger bench, the five-judge bench had said that the debate about the constitutional validity of religious practices like bar on entry of women and girls into a place of worship is not limited to the Sabarimala only. The top court said such restrictions are there with regard to entry of Muslim women into mosques and dargahs and Parsi women, married to non-Parsi men, being barred from the holy fire place of an Agyari. The Supreme Court said, it is time for the apex court to evolve a judicial policy to do substantial and complete justice.