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Issues in Sabarimala Reference to be crystallized on Feb 3, Interveners to be heard: CJI SA Bobde

Sanya Talwar

Following the mentioning today regarding the crystallization of issues in the Sabarimala Reference, Senior Counsel V Giri handed over a set of issues framed to the Supreme Court Bench comprising CJI SA Bobde, and Justices BR Gavai and Surya Kant.

CJI Bobde stated that they would prefer to introspect over the same and proceed with the crystallization of the issues. He stated that this shall be heard on Monday, February 3, 2020.

CJI also stated that the issues will be propounded and Intervention applications will be heard on the said date.

Senior Advocates Indira Jaising and Jaideep Gupta prayed that the Sabarimala Matter may not be listed on Monday as there was already enough pressure on the Bench in light of the Kashmir issue, among other matters.

“The pressure is on us, not on you”, the CJI said.

“Ultimately, the pressure on the Bench is pressure on the Bar”, Jaising submitted.

Further, it was submitted on behalf of Jaising that it was imperative that the manner of hearing the cases be decided by the Bench to avoid duplication.

The CJI stated that the way of proceeding forward could not possibly be pre-determined at the present stage. He also hinted at a conference between the Bench and the lawyers to discuss and chart out the way forward after the hearing on Monday.

Earlier, when a 9-Judge Bench took up the Sabarimala Reference on January 13, the CJI had directed the counsel to jointly formulate issues narrowly.

In light of this, Giri handed over a list of issues formulated by various counsel appearing in the case. He stated that even though the counsel could not reach a consensus on the same, the amalgam of issues formulated should suffice.

The matter was also mentioned onTuesday, when Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the Court that that despite a meeting of the counsel involved in the case, there was no consensus on the issues and questions to be framed for the Court's consideration.

When the matter came up yesterday, the Court indicated that once the case is taken up for hearing, the arguments on the same will be completed within a timeframe of ten days.

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