Arguments on issues referred in Sabarimala review to be completed in ten days: CJI SA Bobde
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Arguments on issues referred in Sabarimala review to be completed in ten days: CJI SA Bobde

Shruti Mahajan

The Supreme Court today said that the arguments in the matter concerning women's rights against religious rights will be completed within a period of ten days.

This indication from the Apex Court came when Solicitor General Tushar Mehta mentioned the matter before the Bench of Chief Justice of India SA Bobde with Justices BR Gavai and Surya Kant.

Mehta told the Court that despite a meeting of the Counsel involved in the case, the issues and questions for consideration of the Court were unable to be framed. Mehta therefore requested the Court to frame the questions in this regard.

The Court has indicated that when the matter is taken up for hearing, the arguments on the same will be completed within a timeframe of ten days.

While delivering its judgment in the Sabarimala Review case, the Supreme Court had referred the larger question of womens' rights under Article 14 as against the rights under Articles 25 and 26, to a larger Bench. The decision in the review petitions filed against the 2018 Sabarimala judgment was kept pending till the larger questions are decided.

The issues likely to come up in this reference before this nine-Judge Bench, as enlisted by the Supreme Court in its November 14 judgment, are:

  • Interplay between the freedom of religion under Articles 25 and 26 of the Constitution and other provisions in Part III, particularly Article 14.

  • What is the sweep of expression ‘public order, morality and health’ occurring in Article 25(1) of the Constitution?

  • The expression ‘morality’ or ‘constitutional morality’ has not been defined in the Constitution. Is it over arching morality in reference to preamble or limited to religious beliefs or faith? There is need to delineate the contours of that expression, lest it becomes subjective.

  • The extent to which the court can enquire into the issue of a particular practice is an integral part of the religion or religious practice of a particular religious denomination or should that be left exclusively to be determined by the head of the section of the religious group.

  • What is the meaning of the expression ‘sections of Hindus’ appearing in Article 25(2)(b) of the Constitution

  • Whether the “essential religious practices” of a religious denomination, or even a section thereof are afforded constitutional protection under Article 26?

  • What would be the permissible extent of judicial recognition to PILs in matters calling into question religious practices of a denomination or a section thereof at the instance of persons who do not belong to such religious denomination?

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