Verdict On Ban On Women's Entry In Sabarimala Temple Today

Sabarimala temple

"The temple can not prohibit entry (of women), except on the basis of religion". The entry of women, aged from 10 to 50, into the temple had been a topic of debates after the temple authorities had barred the women from entering the temple's premises.

A Constitution bench of the Supreme Court will decide whether Hindu women's right to equal access to temples and their fundamental right to worship can be overruled on the grounds of religious tradition. In all other Ayyappa temples in Kerala, other parts of the country and overseas, women are allowed entry without any discrimination. "Unless you have a constitutional right, you can not prohibit entry", the court had said. You can not refuse entry to a woman who comes there ... Otherwise, we can not say it [India] is secular country.

The reason for the ban on entry of women aged between 10 and 50 years as stated by the management of the Sabarimala temple, located on a hilltop in the Western Ghats of Pathanamthitta district was because they can not maintain "purity" on account of menstruation.

Surendran said the government wholeheartedly welcomed the SC decision. The court will be going great injustice to millions of devotees if it interferes and will set a precedent which will seriously affect other religious institutions, the board asked.

Those who supported the ban submitted that the concept "essential part of religious practice" has to be decided by the court with reference to the practices which are regarded important by large sections of the community for several centuries.

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The issue being discussed is whether the practice violates Art 14 and 25 of the Constitution.

A bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra (he was not Chief Justice then), J V Gopala Gowda and Justice Kurian Joseph was hearing the matter during April-May 2016.

In 2008, the LDF government had filed an affidavit before the apex court supporting the entry of women of all age groups to Sabarimala, which bars women of menstruating age.

In July, it had said that "a temple is a public religious place". And if so, would it not play foul of Articles 14 and 15 (3) of the Constitution by restricting entry of women on the ground of sex?

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