New Delhi | The Supreme Court on Tuesday declined an urgent hearing on a plea seeking review of its verdict allowing women of all age groups entry into the Sabarimala Temple.
A bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph had considered the submission of Shylaja Vijayan, president, National Ayyappa Devotees Association through lawyer Mathews J Nedumpara, which contended that the five-judge Constitution bench verdict lifting the ban was “absolutely untenable and irrational”. “It will be listed in due court,” the bench said, adding that in any case, the review petition will be heard in the chamber and not in open court.
The lawyer, appearing for the Devotees Association, also sought a stay on the verdict and said the temple would be opening on October 16 for pilgrimage. The bench, however, said the review petition can only be taken up after the Dussehra vacation.
Besides the Association, another petition seeking review of the September 28 verdict of the apex court has also been filed by the Nair Service Society (NSS).
A five-judge constitution bench headed by then Chief Justice Dipak Misra had in its 4:1 verdict, said banning the entry of women into the shrine is gender discrimination and that the practice violates rights of Hindu women. The review petition filed by Vijayan submitted, “Faith cannot be judged by scientific or rationale reasons or logic”.
“The notion that the judgment under review is revolutionary, one which removes the stigma or the concept of dirt or pollution associated with menstruation, is unfounded. It is a judgment welcomed by hypocrites who were aspiring for media headlines. On the merits of the case, as well, the said judgment is absolutely untenable and irrational, if not perverse,” the petition submitted.
The second petition filed by NSS, an organisation for the uplift and welfare of the Nair community, said as the deity is a ‘Naistika Brahmachari, females before the age of 10 and after the age of 50 years are eligible to worship him and there is no practice of excluding worship by females. “Hence, the delay or wait for 40 years to worship cannot be considered as exclusionary and it is an error of law on the face of the judgement,” the plea said.
The NSS said many essential religious practices will be rendered void and the religion itself may be rendered out of existence if the general ground of equality under Article 14 is resorted to and the essential religious practices are tested on the principle of rationality.
“Review judgment and order…on the ground that it is unconstitutional and void inasmuch as it is vitiated by errors apparent on the face of the record; that it is without jurisdiction or in excess of jurisdiction, that it is in violation of principles of natural justice and that it is in violation of express constitutional provisions,” the plea filed by Devotees Association said.
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