A nine-judge bench of the Supreme Court will hear from January 13 the issue of allowing women of all ages entry to the Sabarimala temple, along with the alleged discrimination against Muslim and Parsi women in places of worship.
The top court Monday issued a notice informing that the petition by Indian Young Lawyers Association, seeking review of its 2018 Sabarimala judgment, had been listed.
“Take notice that the following matters will be listed for hearing before a Nine Judges Constitution Bench commencing from Monday the 13th January, 2020”, the notice said.
In September 2018, the Supreme Court had held unconstitutional the practice of barring women of menstrual age entry to the Sabarimala temple in Kerala. Review pleas were filed, and in November last year, a five-judge constitution bench kept them pending until a larger Bench decided on a gamut of issues around religion, essentiality of religious practices, and constitutional provisions relating to freedom of religion.
The top court said restrictions on women were not limited to Sabarimala, but also existed 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.
“Concededly, the debate about the constitutional validity of practices entailing into restriction of entry of women generally in the place of worship is not limited to this case, but also arises in respect of entry of Muslim women in a Durgah/Mosque as also in relation to Parsi women married to a non-Parsi into the holy fireplace of an Agyari,” the judgment had said.
Additionally, it framed seven issues that could be considered by the larger Bench, ranging from balancing the freedom of religion under Articles 25 and 26 of the Constitution with other fundamental rights, particularly the right to equality, to recalibrating judicial decisions on constitutional morality and essential religious practices.
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