SC reserves verdict in Sabarimala review petitions | Story in points

SC to hear Sabarimala review petitions

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday reserved verdict on a batch of petitions seeking review of its September 28, 2018, judgement that allowed women of all age groups to enter the Sabarimala temple.

A five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi heard submissions on behalf of parties including the Kerala government, Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB), Nair Service Society and others and said that it would pronounce its order as to whether to review the judgment or not. The apex court was seized of around 65 petitions including review plea.

What happened in SC

* The petitions heard by a bench of CJI Gogoi, Justice Nariman, Khanwilkar, Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra

* CJI Gogoi urges lawyers to confine their arguments to the grounds in the review petition

* Senior advocate K Parasaran (appearing for Nair Service Society) opens arguments, says it is an error to strike down a temple custom under Article 15   

* This is not a bilateral dispute; its consequences will fall on other religions too: Parasaran

* Untouchability will apply only if someone is treated less than a human being: Parasaran

* Parasaran submits that the exclusionary practise in Sabarimala is based on the character of the deity, Naishtika Brahmachari (an eternal celibate)

* Justice Nariman asks "What if they keep out a scheduled caste woman? What happens to the feeling of that woman?"

* Senior counsel V Giri appearing for Sabarimala tantri says the restriction is based on the character of the deity, permanent celibate character erodes in case women are permitted entry: 

* Every devotee who goes to temple cannot question the essential temple practices: Giri

* The practise of (banning women in the 10-50 age group) has nothing to do with caste. Hence, the Sabarimala custom cannot be equated to untouchability: Giri

* Advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan says the court struck down the rule without hearing other Devaswom Boards. The rule is applicable to all temples in Kerala.

* There are several other temples in India with gender based restrictions. They will be affected by the judgment. But they were not heard : Gopal Sankaranarayanan

* Dr A M Singhvi appearing for former TDB chief Prayar Gopalakrishnan: The practise is based on the character of the deity. Only this temple has the deity with the concept of Naisthika Brahmanchari  

* Here, the exclusion is not based on caste, but purely based on nature of the deity. So Article 17 has no application: A M Singhvi

* The belief in the nature of deity cannot be measured with constitutional morality: A M Singhvi

Kanakadurga and Bindu had entered the temple on January 2.

* Senior advocate Naphade appearing for Brahmana Sabha says this is an internal affair of a religion. 'Unless there is a criminal law which forbids a practise, Courts cannot interfere.'

* Senior advocate Venkataraman: The 1991 Kerala HC judgment has considered evidence for treating the custom as an essential religious practise. That factual finding in that judgment has not been challenged, and has therefore become final

* Faith is faith; it cannot be split into permissible faith and impermissible faith. One's faith may be another's superstition. These aspects cannot be tested with rationality: Venkatraman

* 'Either you believe in a ritual or opt to not become part of it. You cannot seek to become a part of ritual by questioning its basis,' says advocate Venkatramani

* When it comes to essential religious practise, court should accept the word of the community, says advocate Sai Deepak J

* Review petitioners conclude arguments. CJI asks other petitioners to give written submissions

* CJI also asks respondents to conclude within 90 minutes

Kerala govt opposes review peitions

* 'We are opposing the review as no grounds have been made out for review,' says Jaideep Gupta for Kerala government

Two women from Kannur Reshma and Shanila had twice attempted to enter the temple.

* Not hearing arguments is not ground for review, says Jaideep Gupta

* Essential practise of religion and essential practise of a temple cannot be confused. The court found that the practise was not an essential practise of Hinduism: Jaideep Gupta

* That social peace has been destroyed is not a ground for reviewing the judgment. Constitutional invalidity cannot be permitted to go on: Jaideep Gupta

TDB backs women's entry

* Justice Indu Malhotra tells TDB counsel Dwivedi "You had argued against women entry". To which, Dwivedi replied "Board has decided to respect the judgment."

* Women cannot be excluded from any walk of life based on biological attributes. Equality is the dominant theme of Constitution: Dwivedi

* Indira Jaising, appearing for Kanakadurga and Bindu who entered Sabarimala, says the purification ceremony after women's entry validates the finding of the court that the practise is based on notions of untouchability

* Women who entered temple had to face intense threats. This is no mere exclusion, but social boycott: Indira Jaising

* When you say a 10-year-old girl affects celibacy, it is derogatory, submits advocate PV Dinesh

* Hearing ends, SC reserves judgment in Sabarimala review petitions

* Advocates given seven days' time to file rest of the arguments in writing

Read more: latest Sabarimala news

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