New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday said that its nine-judge Constitution bench would wrap up within 10 days proceedings in the matter relating to discrimination against women in various religions and at religious places including Kerala’s Sabarimala Temple.
A bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde made it clear that questions to be dealt with would be purely legal in nature and it would not take more time in concluding the hearing.
“It cannot take more than 10 days. Even if someone wants more time, it cannot be given,” said the bench which also comprised justices B R Gavai and Surya Kant.
The observations came when Solicitor General Tushar Mehta mentioned the case before the bench.
S-G told to finalise legal questions raised
Solicitor general Tushar Mehta said that in pursuance of the court’s earlier direction, a meeting of lawyers took place but it could not finalise the common legal questions for consideration of the nine-judge bench.
“We could not finalise common questions for consideration of my lords. The Supreme Court can consider framing the questions,” the law officer said.
The bench then asked Mehta to furnish issues dealt by lawyers in the meeting. The court will consider issues related to entry of Muslim women into mosques, female genital mutilation in the Dawoodi Bohra Muslim community and barring of Parsi women, married to non-Parsi men, from the holy fire place at Agiary.
The court had on January 13 asked four senior lawyers to convene a meeting to decide on the issues to be deliberated by it in the matter. While referring the matter to a larger bench, the five-judge bench had said the debate about the constitutional validity of religious practices like bar on entry of women and girls into a place of worship was not limited to the Sabarimala case.
It had said such restrictions are there with regard to entry of Muslim women into mosques and ‘dargahs’ and Parsi women, married to non-Parsi men, being barred from the holy fire place of an Agiary.
It set out seven questions of law to be examined by the larger bench. They include interplay between freedom of religion under Articles 25 and 26 of the Constitution and need to delineate the expression ‘constitutional morality.’...