Renowned jurist and senior advocate Fali Nariman has objected to the manner in which the Supreme Court turned a review of the Sabarimala case into an opportunity to set up a nine-judge Bench and examine whether certain essential religious practices of various faiths, including Islam and Zoroastrianism, should be constitutionally protected.

“Are you saying that when hearing the review of one judgment [Sabarimala in this case], we cannot refer such larger questions to a larger Bench?” Chief Justice of India (CJI) Sharad A. Bobde, heading the nine-judge Bench, asked Mr. Nariman on Monday.

“Yes, that is absolutely right. It will be outside your jurisdiction to do that,” Mr. Nariman replied emphatically.

The CJI observed orally that Mr. Nariman had a “formidable point there”, adding that the nine-judge Bench would not “abort the hearing” now and that the objections raised by Mr. Nariman would be framed as an “issue” to be decided by the Bench.

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