Sabarimala Verdict: Four Possibilities Before the Court
As the Supreme Court is to deliver a judgement on Sabarimala, here are the four possible outcomes.
A five-member bench of the Supreme Court is expected to decide upon the admissibility of review petition on its earlier judgment that allowed women to enter Sabarimala temple, today.
After the September 2018 judgment that struck down the age old practice of not allowing menstruating women at the temple, 56 review pleas, four fresh writ petitions and five transfer pleas came before the Apex Court.
So, what are the ways in which the Court could decide today? Here are four possibilities:
1. If the court decides to allow the review petition
If the majority of the bench decides to reconsider the verdict, the old verdict - to allow women to Sabrimala - will no longer be valid.
The court will hold fresh hearings on the initial petition of The Young Lawyers' Associations 2006 petition. It will send notices to all parties concerned. It will allow everyone to present their arguments again in detail.
2. If the review petitions are dismissed
If a majority of the members of the five-member Constitution Bench decides to reject the review petition, there is only the possibility of a correctional petition. Such a judgment will also clarify why the review petition was rejected. A correction petition is considered by a bench comprising of the three most senior judges of the Supreme Court.
3. If the decision is referred to a larger bench
The judges can decide to refer the matter of review to a seven-judge bench. Then the court will issue a stay order on the earlier judgment. The Chief Justice will form the higher bench and decide on all concerned matters. Alternatively, the CJI could also choose to only refer some of the legal questions to a larger bench.
4. If the Bench is split
In the previous judgement, Justice Indu wrote a strongly dissenting option to the majority decision. Furthermore, CJI Ranjan Gogoi was the only member of the current bench who was not on the previous bench deciding the case. The other three judges of the bench were in favour of admission. As such, if three judges of the present bench allow the admission of women into Sabrimala, the majority will not need to reconsider. However, if any of them change their positions, the bench will be split.