Ayodhya over, now all eyes on SC over Sabarimala review

Ayodhya over, now all eyes on SC over Sabarimala review

New Delhi: The Supreme Court will be the centre of attention again this upcoming week after a remarkable weekend which coincided with the historic resolution of the longest pending legal dispute in India.

After the historic verdict on the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid case on Saturday, the Constitution bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi is left with four other important judgements that have to be delivered before he demits office on November 17. They include pleas seeking review of the top court's 2018 verdict allowing women of all ages to enter the Sabarimala temple in Kerala.

The verdict on Sabarimala review pleas assumes importance as the portals of the hill shrine would be opened for the three-month long annual pilgrimage season this year on November 16.

In February, the five-judge Constitution bench had 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.

On September 28 last year, a five-judge constitution bench headed by the then Chief Justice Dipak Misra, in a 4:1 verdict, had paved the way for entry of women of all ages into the Sabarimala temple in Kerala, saying the ban amounted to gender discrimination.

Subsequently, the CPM-led LDF government of Kerala, led by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, had faced severe criticism over the entry of two women in the menstruating age group into the Sabarimala shrine during the last annual pilgrimage season.

The bench will pronounce verdict in another political sensitive case in which a review has been sought on its December 14, 2018 judgement by which the Narendra Modi government was given a clean chit over the procurement of Rafale fighter jets.

In the Rafale case, the top court would decide the pleas, including the one filed by former Union ministers Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie and activist-lawyer Prashant Bhushan, seeking review of its judgement.

Gogoi's bench will also pronounce its verdict on a plea seeking criminal contempt proceedings against Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for wrongly attributing to the apex court his "chowkidar chor hai" remark against Prime Minister Narendra Modi in connection with the Rafale case.

On April 4, a five-judge Constitution bench headed by Justice Gogoi had also reserved its verdict on three appeals filed in 2010 by the Secretary General of the Supreme Court and its Central Public Information officer against the Delhi High Court order that the CJI's office falls under the ambit of the Right to Information Act.

(With PTI inputs)