Women's ban at Sabarimala temple: Supreme Court refers case to Constitutional Bench

Sabarimala Temple

Sabarimala Temple

The bench of Justice Dipak Misra, Justice R. Banumathi and Justice Ashok Bhushan had earlier reserved its verdict on referring the case to a constitution bench. According to them banning entry of women would be against the basic tenets of Hindu religion.

"We will abide by the court ruling", he said.

On November 7 a year ago, the Kerala government had informed the apex court that it favoured the entry of women of all age groups in the historic Sabarimala temple.

The apex court has referred the matter of women's entry into Kerala's historic Sabarimala Lord Ayyappa temple to Constitution bench.

The court was hearing the petition filed by the Indian Young Lawyers Association that challenged the custom of the temple to bar entry of women in the 10-50 age bracket (of menstruating age), saying it was discriminatory, NewsX reported.

Article 14 guarantees right to equality, Article 15 prohibits discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth, and Article 17 abolishes untouchability and forbids it practice. Notifications which stipulate a ban of women from the age of 10 to 50 from entering the temple is contrary to the 1965 Kerala Temple Entry Act as well as the Constitution.

The temple authorities are restricting entry of women citing tradition. It violates the rights of women.

He also reiterated that women of menstruating age shouldn't be permitted to enter the temple premises.

Is this prohibition by the religious body valid under the purview of religious freedom under Article 25 of the Constitution? Initially, the LD Government followed the women's entry into the temple in 2007, which was later turned over to UDF Government.

The Constitution Bench will deal with questions whether this practice amounted to discrimination against the women.

He asked if everyone was trying to make Sabarimala a Thailand by making women between the age of 10 to 50 climb uphill under the challenging weather conditions without any safety.

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