Sabarimala Review Petition hearing on Jan 22 unlikely as Indu Malhotra J on medical leave
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Sabarimala Review Petition hearing on Jan 22 unlikely as Indu Malhotra J on medical leave

Murali Krishnan

The much awaited hearing of the  Sabarimala review petitions in the Supreme Court might not take place on its scheduled date of January 22.

Justice Indu Malhotra is on medical leave and might be unavailable on that day.

Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi revealed as much in open court this morning, when advocate Mathews Nedumpara made a mention of the matter.

“That Bench may not be available. One of the judges, Justice Indu Malhotra is on medical leave”, CJI Gogoi said.

When asked what the next course of action will be, he said

“We will see.”

The Supreme Court agreed to hear the forty-nine review petitions assailing its Sabarimala judgment of September 28, which held that women, irrespective of their age, have the right to enter the Temple in Kerala. The review petitions were listed before a Bench headed by CJI Gogoi, along with Justices Malhotra, Rohinton Nariman, AM Khanwilkar, and DY Chandrachud.

A Constitution Bench of then Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices Rohinton Nariman, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud, and Indu Malhotra had, by a 4:1 majority, struck down Rule 3(b) of the Kerala Hindu Places of Public Worship (Authorisation of Entry) Rules, 1965 which was the basis for barring entry of women between the ages of 10 and 50 years into the temple.

This judgment has had significant ramifications in the State of Kerala, with the BJP, right wing organisations, as well as the Congress Party opposing the verdict. Attempts to prevent women from entering the shrine have also led to violence in and around the temple.

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