Kerala govt opposes pleas seeking review of SC's Sabarimala verdict

The Kerala government on Wednesday vehemently opposed in the Supreme Court a batch of petitions seeking review of the verdict allowing the entry of women of all ages into the Sabarimala shrine, even as several organisations argued that the judgement be reconsidered.

A five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi was told by the counsel for the Kerala government that no ground was made out in any of the petitions seeking review of its September 28, 2018 verdict.

Several organisations including the Nair Service Society (NSS) and the 'Thantri' of the shrine, have advanced arguments before the bench and sought reconsideration of the verdict

Former attorney general and senior advocate K. Parasaran, appearing for the NSS, assailed the majority verdict, saying Article 15 of the Constitution throws open for all public the secular institutions of the country but it doesn't deal with religious institutions.

The article "throws open all public institutions of secular character for all classes of citizens but the article conspicuously omits religious institutions", he told the bench.

Seeking reconsideration of the verdict, he said the article which deals with abolition of untouchability in society was wrongly used by the apex court in its judgment as exclusion of certain age groups of women was not based on caste.

The advocate also referred to the celibate character of the deity at Sabarimala and said the court should have considered this aspect.

Senior advocate Jaideep Gupta appearing for the Kerala government told the bench also comprising justices R.F Nariman, A.M Khanwilkar, D.Y Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra that there was a consensus among the four judges who delivered the majority judgment on three aspects, i.e., Article 26, 25 (2) and rule 3 (b) of the Kerala Act.

Gupta said in none of the review petitions questions have been raised regarding these three points and therefore other aspects "raised in the review petition will make no difference".