New Delhi, Nov 14, 2019: A five-judge bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi on Thursday referred the petitions seeking review of the 2018 Supreme Court ruling that allowed women to enter the Sabarimala temple in Kerala, to a larger bench by 3:2 majority. The Supreme Court will on Thursday deliver its verdict on review petitions filed against its rulings on the entry of women in Sabarimala temple and the Rafale fighter jet deal.
On Sabarimala, the court will decide on a bunch of pleas seeking a review of its September 2018 order allowing the entry of women of all ages into Kerala’s Sabarimala Temple that triggered protests by traditionalists in the state, as to Hindustan Times.
The court, by a majority verdict of 4:1, had called the practice of barring women of a certain age group from entering the temple illegal and unconstitutional.
Kerala has been put on high alert ahead of the court’s verdict. Police vigil has been upped in Pathanamthitta district where the temple is situated.
Ahead of the court verdict, the state has been put on high alert. Police have stepped up vigil in Pathanamthitta district where the temple is situated.
The temple will open for an annual three-month pilgrimage on November 17. The state government will deploy around 10,000 police personnel during the pilgrimage season.
The top court will also rule on Thursday on a batch of petitions seeking a review of its verdict last year that dismissed pleas seeking a court-monitored probe of alleged irregularities in the ₹59,000 crore Rafale deal.
Former Union ministers Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie, and lawyer Prashant Bhushan were among those who had filed the review pleas.
Sinha, Shourie, and Bhushan have pressed for perjury proceedings against the central government for allegedly suppressing information. They have claimed that the government misled the top court ahead of the December 2018 Rafale verdict.
A contempt petition against Congress leader Rahul Gandhi will also be decided by the Supreme Court. Rahul Gandhi, then Congress president, had attacked the government over the Rafale deal but ran into trouble when a statement of his seemed to have attributed the slogan “Chowkidar Chor Hai” to the Supreme Court.
The BJP filed a contempt petition and Gandhi expressed regret over the comments. He said the statement was made in the heat of the political campaign for the Lok Sabha polls.
On September 28, 2018, a five-judge bench headed by then chief justice Dipak Misra had delivered a landmark 4:1 ruling setting aside decades-old restrictions on the entry of women of menstrual age at the temple. Temple custodians argue that women of menstrual age are prohibited from offering prayers as the deity there, Ayyappa, is a celibate.
The top court verdict unleashed a string of protests across Kerala, mainly led by caste outfits like the NSS and right-wing Hindu organisations of the Sangh Parivar. A five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Gogoi had reserved its decision on February 6 after hearing various parties including those seeking re-consideration of the 2018 judgement. Other members of the bench are justices R F Nariman, A M Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra.