The Supreme Court on Monday upheld the 'Right to Pray' verdict and proposed that its five-judge bench can refer questions of law to a larger bench while exercising its limited power under the review jurisdiction in the Sabarimala case. The SC has proposed to hear the issues on a day-to-day basis from February 17.
As per reports, a bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde framed seven questions that will be heard by a nine-judge Constitutional bench on issues relating to freedom of religion under the Constitution and faith.
Earlier on January 9, the Supreme Court had set up a 9-judge Constitution Bench which would hear the right to pray matter from January 13 onwards on a day-to-day basis. This development comes nearly two months after a 5-member Constitution Bench comprising former Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justices Nariman, Khanwilkar, Chandrachud and Malhotra decided to expand the scope of the Sabarimala review pleas clubbing it with the entry of women in mosques and the tower of silence, the legality of female genital mutilation in the Dawoodi Bohra community and referred it to a larger bench for adjudication.
The nine-judge bench led by the Chief Justice of India SA Bobde comprises of Justices R Banumathi, Ashok Bhushan, L Nageswara Rao, M M Shantanagoudar, S A Nazeer, R Subhash Reddy, B R Gavai and Surya Kant. In spite of the review, there will not be a stay on the earlier judgment which allowed the entry of women between the age group of 10 to 50 years into Sabarimala temple - which has still not been allowed in practice by the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) and the Kerala government.