The Supreme Court today referred all review pleas for its 2018 Sabarimala verdict to a larger 7-judge bench. The Sabarimala review petitions will remain pending till the issue is decided by the larger Bench.
Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, reading the verdict on behalf of himself and Justices A M Khanwilkar and Indu Malhotra, said the larger bench will decide all such religious issues relating to Sabarimala, entry of women in mosques and practice of female genital mutilation in the Dawoodi Bohra community.
Justices RF Nariman and DY Chandrachud have differed from the decision.
The SC should evolve common policy on religious places like Sabarimala, the CJI said. The Chief Justice also made mention of issues such as those relating to the conflict between Shirur Math and Dargah for the consideration of the larger bench.
"The endeavour of petitioners was to revive debate on religion and faith," CJI Ranjan Gogoi added.
The verdict last year had ruled to allow women between the age of 10 and 50 to enter the Sabarimala temple in Kerala. The apex court had given a majority verdict of 4:1 with Justice Indu Malhotra as the sole dissenter. Allowing women to enter the famous Ayyappa shrine, the SC had held that this centuries-old Hindu religious practice was illegal and unconstitutional.
Soon after, numerous petitions seeking a review of the verdict were filed. The apex court will have to deliver its judgement on as many as 65 petitions - including 56 review petitions and four fresh writ petitions and five transfer pleas -- which were filed after its verdict sparked violent protests in Kerala.