Millennium Post

SC nine-judge Bench to frame issues related to discrimination against women in religion

New Delhi: The Supreme Court Thursday said a 9-judge Constitution bench will on February 3 frame issues for deliberation in the matter relating to discrimination against women in various religions and at religious places including Kerala's Sabarimala Temple.

It expressed displeasure at the outset over lawyers not being able to arrive at a consensus on legal issues to be adjudicated upon by the nine-judge bench.

The Constitution bench 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.

A 3-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde, further said the 9-judge bench will go through the issues framed by some arguing lawyers and would try to crystalise the common legal questions to be adjudicated upon by it. It will also fix the hearing schedule.

The bench, also comprising Justices B R Gavai and Surya Kant, said: "We are little disappointed as you could not arrive at a consensus. Now a nine-judge bench will go through the questions submitted by some of you (advocates) and try to crystallize the issues on February 3 and would decide on schedule and other modalities."

The top court's remark came after senior advocate V Giri, mentioned before the bench that some senior advocates appearing in the matters, including in the Sabarimala case, had framed some legal propositions and the court should look into them.

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.

Senior advocate Indira Jaising said the court should also decide the way the proceedings will go on in the matters as there are a range of issues to be dealt with by the Constitution bench.

The bench said it would not allow two lawyers to argue on the same issue.

"Our object is to settle the larger issues and then the individual cases may be looked into," the bench said.

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