New Delhi: The Supreme Court will announce verdicts on review petitions against its orders in two important cases today - entry of women in Sabarimala temple and the Rafale deal.
After the historic verdict on the Ayodhya dispute, Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi-headed bench of the Supreme Court was left with four other important judgments that have to be delivered within a week before he demits office on November 17.
The Supreme Court is slated to announce the verdict on the batch of review petition against its order concerning the entry of women of all ages in Sabarimala temple.
The Sabrimala verdict will be delivered by a constitution bench comprising Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Rohinton Fali Nariman, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra at 10:30 am today.
The order was reserved by the court in February earlier this year. The order expected to be announced today is likely to uphold or set aside the 2018 order.
The Supreme Court on September 28 last year had permitted the entry of women of all age groups into the Lord Ayyappa temple when it declared a Kerala government law barring women aged between 10-50 years from entering the shrine as unconstitutional.
After which Kerala witnessed massive protests by various Hindu outfits and the BJP workers after the Supreme Court's verdict lifted the restriction on the entry of women of menstruating age into the Sabarimala temple, which devotees opposed.
This year, the temple is being opened for the three-month-long annual pilgrimage on November 16.
Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) president A Padmakumar on Wednesday said the state government and the Board are committed to implementing the Supreme Court's verdict on a batch of review petitions challenging the entry of women of all ages in Sabarimala temple.
Early in November, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had said that it is not possible to make laws to circumvent the Supreme Court's order permitting entry of women of all age into the Sabarimala temple.
Rafale review petitions
The apex court will pronounce its judgment on a batch of petitions seeking review of its 2018 order which gave clean chit to Narendra Modi-led government on a plea seeking investigation into alleged irregularities in the procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets by India from France.
The verdict will be delivered by a three-judge bench presided by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and comprising Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and K M Joseph.
The Supreme Court on December 14 last year had dismissed petitions seeking court-monitored probe into Rafale fighter jet deal, saying that there was no occasion to doubt the decision-making process in the deal. The top court had also said that it was not its job to go into the issue of pricing of fighter planes.
Subsequently, review petitions were filed by former Union ministers Yashwant Sinha, Arun Shourie, lawyer Prashant Bhushan and others against the top court's judgement.
They sought probe into Rs 58,000 deal and registration of first information report (FIR).
Their petition states that the December 14 verdict contained several errors and it relied upon patently incorrect claims made by the government in an unsigned note given in a sealed cover to the court, which is a violation of the principle of natural justice.
They also alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had signed an agreement for 36 Rafale jets on April 10, 2015, without any such requirement being given by the Air Force Headquarters and without the approval of the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), which are the mandated first steps for any defence procurement.
The Centre had also filed an affidavit seeking dismissal of the review petition after some internal documents of the Defence Ministry related to the Rafale fighter deal came out in a section of the media.
The Centre asserted that the petitioners had procured privileged documents in an "illegal way" to support their review petitions. It told the court that the documents attached by the petitioners are sensitive to national security and relate to war capacity of the combat aircraft.
The top court had reserved the order on their pleas in May, earlier this year.