New Delhi: The Supreme Court will hear on the larger reference on the gender justice and the essential religious beliefs and practices discriminatory to women in Sabarimala temple and other religions, including Muslims, Parsis and Dawoodi Boha community.
Rejecting the procedural challenge to the reference, Chief Justice S.A. Bobde heading the nine-judge Bench while reserving the order said that they would pass the order on preliminary objection on February 10 and also spell out the question that would be adjudicated in the course of the hearing commencing from Wednesday.
CJI Bobde said that they would pronounce the operative part of the order on the preliminary objections to the November 2018 reference on Monday to be followed by detailed reasoning later.
The hearing, CJI Bobde said, would take place on all the five days of the week from Monday to Friday.
Coupled with the order on the preliminary objection to the November 14, 2019, reference by the five-judge constitution Bench, the CJI said that they will also announce the question that will be adjudicated which they have already thought over.
Besides CJI Bobde, other judges on the Bench are Justices R. Banumathi, Ashok Bhushan, L. Nageswara Rao, Mohan N. Shantanagoudar, S. Abdul Nazeer. R. Subhash Reddy, B.R.Gavai and Surya Kant.
The larger question to be addressed by the constitution Bench will include the legality of religious belief and practices having the colour of being essential to religions vis-à-vis women’s right to equality under Article 14 of the Constitution.
The larger questions to be adjudicated by the nine-judge constitution Bench are rooted in the matters pending before the top court.
These matters include plea for the reconsideration of September 2018 judgment permitting the entry of all women in Lord Ayyappa’s Sabarimala temple, prohibition on the entry of Muslim women in mosques, bar on the entry of Parsi women in the temple of holy fire after they marry outside the community and female genital mutilation amongst Dawoodi Bohra community.
Essential religious beliefs and practices are protected by Article 25 and 26 of the Constitution guaranteeing freedom of religion and freedom to manage religious affairs.
Earlier at the start of the hearing, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta described the objections “frivolous”.