A nine-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court on Monday upheld the decision of the Sabarimala review bench to refer to a larger bench questions on the ambit and scope of religious freedom practised by multiple faiths across the country.

The nine-judge bench, led by Chief Justice of India Justice S.A. Bobde, said a bench engaged in the review of a particular judgment could indeed refer other questions of law to a larger bench. Arguments on merits would be heard from February 17. The Bench also framed seven questions of law which the nine-judge Bench would decide now. There are: 

What is the scope and ambit of religious freedom under Article 25 of the Constitution? What is the interplay between religious freedom and rights of religious denominations under Article 26 of the Constitution? Whether religious denominations are subject to fundamental rights? What is the definition of ‘morality’ used in Articles 25 and 26? What is the ambit and scope of judicial review of Article 25? What is the meaning of the phrase “sections of Hindus under Article 25 (2)(b)? Whether a person not belonging to a religious group can question the practices, beliefs of that group in a PIL petition?


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