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1. Hearing in the Review Petitions in the #Sabarimala Temple case has commenced
2. Mr. K. Parasaran has commenced submissions on behalf of the Nair Service Society. Mr. Parasaran submits that the majority is liable to be reviewed for failing to consider critical factual and legal submissions.
3. Mr. Parasaran submits that while Justice Chandrachud and Justice Nariman dealt with Article 15, the former Chief Justice and Justice Khanwilkar did not refer to Article 15. Therefore, he submits there is no majority opinion.
4. Mr. Parasaran is now dealing with Article 25(2)(b) and cites the Jehovah Witness case to make the point that a religious practice prevails unless there is egregious violation.
5. Mr. Parasaran submits that while Justice Chandrachud referred to Article 17, the other Three Judges in the majority view did not refer to Article 17
6. Mr. Parasaran submits that Article 17 should not have been given such an expansive interpretation by Justice Chandrachud since untouchability, as used in the Article, has a specific context, which is related to caste and not to gender.
7. Mr. Parasaran submits that Justice Chandrachud's opinion went beyond the original intent of Article 17, which is impermissible.
8. Mr. Parasaran submits that the central basis of the practice of the Temple is the Naishtika Brahmacharya of the Deity in the #Sabarimala Temple
9. Mr. Parasaran submits that unlike untouchability which excluded an entire class of people, the practice of the #Sabarimala Temple is limited to a particular age group because the exclusion is on the basis of the character of the Deity.
10. Justice Nariman asks what would be the position if a scheduled caste woman between the age group of 10-50 is kept out of Temple. Would the practice Article 17 then?
11. Mr. Parasaran submits that the exclusion of the #Sabarimala Temple is not on the basis of Caste but on the basis of the Deity's nature.
12. Mr. Parasaran concludes his submissions. Mr. V. Giri commences submissions on behalf of the Thanthri
13. Mr. @jsaideepak submitted that he represents the Pandalam Royal Family and two intervenors.
14. Mr. @jsaideepak submitted Section 4 of the 1965 Act clearly provides that Travancore Devaswom Board shall formulate its own Rules with respect to the Temples under its control, including the Sabarimala Temple.
15. Mr. @jsaideepak submitted that the 1965 Rules, including Rule 3(b) do not apply to the Sabarimala Temple. Only the notifications of 1955 & 1956 issued under Section 31 of the Travancore Cochin Hindu Religious Institutions Act 1950 applies to the Temple.
16. Mr. @jsaideepak submitted that the age bar of 10-50 is to be found in the 1955 & 1956 notifications and not Rule 3(b) of the 1965 Rules. The majority view proceeds on the erroneous basis that the practice of the Temple is relatable to Rule 3(b).
17. Mr. @jsaideepak then addressed Justice Nariman's question with respect to application of Article 17 to the Temple.
18. He submitted that even women from the scheduled caste community under the age of 10 and over the age of 50 can enter the Temple since the bar is not based on caste, but on a procreative age group.
19. @jsaideepak then addresed the opinion of Justice Chandrachud. He submitted that Justice Chandrachud had taken the view that in cases such as these the view of the community must be accepted on what constitutes an essential religious practice unless there is evidence of fraud.
20. Mr. @jsaideepak submitted that applying the logic of Justice Chandrachud's opinion, since there is a recorded history of over two centuries..(contd.)
....to support the practice of the #Sabarimala Temple and there is no finding of fraud against the believers, the practice of the Temple must be sustained.
21. Mr. @jsaideepak finally submitted that the term Naishtika Brahmacharya has been used in the judgement without appreciating the actual significance of the vow.
22. Mr. @jsaideepak submitted that Naishtika Brahmacharya is not just eternal celibacy but specifically refers to that form of eternal celibacy where the Deity retains the character of a student who is studying the vedas.
23. Mr. @jsaideepak submitted that Naishtika Brahmacharya stands distinguished from upkurvana Brahmacharya and the judgement has failed to appreciate the nuance involved in Naishtika Brahmacharya.
24. Lastly, Mr. @jsaideepak submitted that in Justice Nariman's opinion, he had failed to appreciate the Thanthri's affidavit wherein the Thanthri has clearly stated that the practice of the Temple is attributable to the Naishtika Brahmacharya of the Deity.
24. Therefore, Mr. @jsaideepak submitted that the practice of the Temple stands on its two legs on the basis of the character of the Deity, which is not based on gender discrimination or relatable to so-called menstrual impurity.
25. After hearing Mr. Jaideep Gupta for the State Government, Mr. Rakesh Dwivedi for the TDB and Ms. Indira Jaising for two women, Order has been reserved, given 7 days time to all counsels to file their written submissions.
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