Pandalam royals welcome SC’s decision to refer Sabarimala case to larger bench

Thiruvananthapuram: Pandalam royal family representative Sasikumara Varma on Monday welcomed the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold that its five-judge bench can refer questions of law to a larger bench while exercising its limited power under review jurisdiction in the Sabarimala case.

The review by a larger bench will favour the devotees, he said while addressing reporters here.

“The topics that the larger bench will consider need to be discussed,” he added.

The Supreme Court will begin hearing in the case from February 17.

The seven questions framed by the bench include those on scope and ambit of religious freedom and interplay between religious freedom and freedom of beliefs of religious denominations.

The bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde said it's nine-judge bench will deal with the right to freedom of religion under Article 25 of the Constitution and its interplay with the right of various religious denominations.

It will also deal with the extent of judicial review with regard to religious practices and the meaning of "sections of Hindus" occurring in Article 25 (2)(b) of the Constitution.

The Supreme Court will also deal with the power of a person, who does not belong to a particular religion or sect of a religion, to question the religious beliefs of that religion by filling a PIL.

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