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"Webinar on Sabrimala Reference" (22nd August 2020)

On 22nd August 2020. "Webinar on Sabrimala Reference" was being organised by the GCRCJS .The Guest Speaker for the Webinar was Senior Advocate Mr. Sanjay R. Hegde. This is in furtherance of GNLU’s objective to foster constructive discussions on brewing issues of law, a Webinar was being organized to discuss, Sabarimala Temple: The dichotomy between customs and women’s rights.

The Webinar was inaugurated by the Vice Chancellor/Director of GNLU, Dr. S ShanthaKumar. He gave much synchronised details about the case and enriched the audience about the main root cause of the case. He explained the issue from its origin till the present day. He started the understanding of matter why this discussion is important and what are the constitutional issues involved.

After him Advocate Sanjay R Hegde gave his detailed understanding of the matter. Mr. Sanjay R Hegde, is a Senior Advocate at the Supreme Court of India. He began his illustrious career back in 1989 while working as a lawyer with M/s Mulla & Mulla & Craigie Blunt & Caroe Solicitors. He gained his LL.M while at work and thereafter moved to Delhi to practice in the Supreme Court in the Chambers of Senior Advocate Mr. G. Ramaswamy. During this period, he worked on several high-profile cases, appeared for the Government of Indian before an international arbitral tribunal and from 1996 to 2004 was on the Union of India’s arguing panel before the Supreme Court.

He also worked for a decade as the Advocate on Record for the State of Karnataka and thereafter focused on private practice. He has frequently engaged in legal journalism including appearing on television panels and writing as a columnist for newspapers.

Advocate Sanjay started his speech from the concept of equality in the Indian constitution. He explained the concept of being Secular as per Indian constitution. He quoted several case laws of the Supreme Court of India, where it has been decided that Indian Secularism is of very different type, as from the rest of world.

He then explained with help of various decided court cases what is the Religion and Faith. What comprises of the concept of the religion and what is not included into it. He discussed the cases of Dargah Sharif, case of worshipping Naag during Naagpanchami and other case of women entering the prohibited religious places.

He then discussed the case laws of the High courts and Supreme Court that the basic test is to find out the test of essentiality to any practice, if it can be established, such can be a part of the religion/faith, otherwise not.

He then analysed the concept in the Sabrimala Reference, where Supreme Court has considered it to be discriminatory. Adv. Hegde explained further how this is discriminatory in nature as it is biased about gender and certain times of the life of a particular gender. He explained how this matter is related to Rule 3(b) of the Kerala Hindu Places of Public Worship Act, which is declared as unconstitutional. Rule 3(b) allowed for Hindu denominations to exclude women from public places of worship, if the exclusion was based on 'custom'

In an answer to the question raised by the audience, Adv. Hegde makes it clear how this is included in the concept of being discriminatory. He also informed the audience about the way further in this matter.

He gave more than 15 major case laws in the history of India to come so far & this judgement. The webinar was moderated by Ashika Jain & Mayank Gupta, Student of GNLU, and hosted by Mr. Anuj Kumar Tiwari, TRA at GNLU.

Vote of thanks was delivered by Dr. Anjani Singh Tomar. The webinar was attended by more than 250 participants.