Sabarimala case: SC begins crucial hearing

A nine-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court today began deliberations on the legal issue of whether the top court can refer questions of law to a larger bench while exercising its review jurisdiction.

This question arose during the hearing in the Sabarimala case which relates to gender discrimination against women at religious places.

A bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde is hearing the issues relating to discriminations against women at various places of worship including the Sabarimala temple.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta argued that the apex court was right in referring the questions of law to the larger bench and added, 'as custodian of fundamental rights, it was the duty of the court to lay down an authoritative pronouncement on these questions of law'.'Your Lordships are duty bound as custodians for posterity.

Issues regarding review, reference, curative, these cannot be gone into. If there is a question of law, the court has the liberty to constitute a larger bench to settle the issues,' Mehta said.The other members of the bench are Justices R Banumathi, Ashok Bhushan, L Nageswara Rao, M M Shantanagoudar, S A Nazeer, R Subhash Reddy, B R Gavai and Surya Kant.