Sabarimala reference: SG urges SC to consider reframing the issues

A nine bench judge gave the directions in a reference made during the Sabarimala review petition; it said it will consider issues related to essential religious practices, the interplay between fundamental rights and faith, judicial review and other aspects. A reference is made by a court when there is reasonable doubt about a question of law.

Since the lawyers were unable to frame the issue and were unable to agree on a common solution, the Solicitor General recommends the bench to reframe the issues, and give suggestion in a draft. A ten-day hearing period is set for the case.

CJI Ranjan Gogoi noticed that certain issues were common to the pending cases concerning the

  • Women entry in mosques
  • Female mutilation practised among Dawoodi Bohra
  • Right of Parsi women, married outside the community to enter the fire temple.

The Court will decide considering the following articles:

  • Freedom of religion under Articles 25 and 26 and right to equality under Article 14;
  • ‘Public order, morality, health’ in Article 25(1); the scope of expression
  • The extent to which a court can inquire into an essential religious practice
  • ‘Sections of Hindus’ mentioned in Article 25(2)(b);
  • Essential religious practices of a religious denomination are protected
  • “Judicial recognition” to Public interest litigation filed by people not belonging to a religious denomination to contest a religious practice.

The next hearing will be held in the first week of February.