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Supreme Court verdicts on Sabarimala, Rafale review petitions tomorrow

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It’s going to be another busy day for Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi before he retires on November 17. He has some big judgments to deliver on Thursday, including the crucial ones in the Sabarimala and Rafale cases.

Sabarimala verdict review

A five-judge Constitution bench headed by the Chief Justice will deliver its judgment on the pleas seeking review of the Supreme Court’s historic September 2018 order that allowed women of reproductive age to enter Kerala’s Sabarimala temple. On September 28 last year, in a majority ruling, a Constitution bench consisting of the then CJI Dipak Misra and Justices Rohinton Nariman, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud, and Indu Malhotra had, by a 4:1 majority lifted the ban on the entry of women between the ages 10 to 50 into the Sabarimala temple. Justice Indu Malhotra was the lone dissenting voice.

As several women of menstrual age attempted to enter the temple, violent clashes and protests stopped them from offering prayers to Lord Ayyappa, the presiding deity, who is considered to be a celibate. Priests and even women devotees believe that women between 10 and 50 years of age should not be allowed to enter the Sabarimala temple.

As many as 65 petitions have sought review of the judgment.

Rafale verdict review

In the Rafale case, the Supreme Court would decide on the pleas, including the one filed by former Union ministers Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie and activist-lawyer Prashant Bhushan, seeking review of its December 14 last year judgment which had declined to order probe into the corruption allegations in the Rafale deal to buy 36 fighter jets from French firm Dassault at a cost of Rs 58,000 crore.

A bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices SK Kaul and KM Joseph is likely to pronounce verdicts on three review petitions filed by them, lawyer Vineet Dhandha and Aam Aadmi Party lawmaker Sanjay Singh.

The review plea alleged that the government misled the court into delivering its December 14, 2018 judgment upholding the agreement.

The court will also hear a defamation case by BJP leader Meenakshi Lekhi against Congress leader Rahul Gandhi misquoting the Supreme Court on its order on the Rafale fighter jet deal.

India Legal Bureau

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