Faiths vs Rights case in Supreme Court today, 9-judge bench to hear matters on Sabarimala

Faiths vs Rights case in Supreme Court today, 9-judge bench to hear matters on Sabarimala

EC News Desk

New Delhi, January 13, 2020: A nine-judge Constitution bench is set to hear on Monday the issues relating to the 'Faith vs Rights' debate that was set off by the Sabarimala case last year. This bench is expected to set out the precedent and judicial policy with regard to dealing with questions of religion and rights.

The five-judge review bench, in a 3:2 judgment, had framed several questions for consideration by a larger bench, with regard to the interrelationship between article 25 and 26, rights to freedom to propagate and practice religion, and the other fundamental rights in the Constitution, particularly right to equality.

The question of women’s entry into the Ayappa Temple at Sabarimala was left open by this judgment, which noted that several questions of law needed to be considered before the review petitions could be heard.

Headed by CJI SA Bobde, the 9-judge bench also includes Justice Banumathi, J Ashok Bhushan, J L Nageshwara Rao, J MM Shantanugoudar, J SA Nazeer, J RS Reddy, J BR Gavai and J Suryakant.

Interestingly, the four judges who had been part of the Sabarimala bench earlier- Justice RF Nariman, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud, and Justice Indu Malhotra have not been made part of this bench.

The five-judge bench, headed by then CJI Ranjan Gogoi had noted that apart from the Sabarimala temple entry issue, the Supreme Court was set to hear a number of cases that would require the court to look into aspects of religious practice. These include the plea filed by Bohra Muslim women against the practice of female genital mutilation, pea by Parsi women with regard to their rights of inheritance and entry into Agiyaris, and a plea by Muslim women seeking the right to enter a Dargah or mosque.

With almost all religions in the country including certain practices that are now coming under challenge for violating women’s rights, the Supreme Court has decided to look into the issue of how far can the court exercise power when it comes to balancing gender rights with religious practices.