The new notified constitution bench to decide the larger question of law in Sabarimala case does not include Justices Rohinton Nariman, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud, and Indu Malhotra who dissented at various stages and were part of the Bench that heard, both, the main matter as well as the review petitions in the Sabarimala case.
The new bench will be headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) SA Bobde and will begin hearing in the case on January 13. Along with CJI, the bench will also have justices R Banumathi, Ashok Bhushan, L Nageswara Rao, S Abdul, Mohan M Shantanagoudar and Surya Kant.
The decision in the review petitions filed against the 2018 Sabarimala judgment was kept pending by the Supreme Court, after making a reference to the larger bench to decide the larger question of law-What constitutes essential practices and to what extent the court can intervene.
The new bench is also expected to set the guidelines and parameters for a judicial review in such Public Interest Litigation challenging norms and customs believed to be “essential practice of a religion”.
If a ruling on the entry of women into Sabarimala temple is upheld, it would allow for other similar cases with respect to the entry of Muslim women in mosques and entry of Parsi women after marrying a non-Parsi in their temples to be reviewed.