Thursday, 14 December, 2017

Ban on Women's Entry into Sabarimala Temple: SC refers to Constitution Bench

Supreme Court to deliver verdict on women entering Kerala's Sabarimala temple today Sabarimala entry-ban to go to Constitution bench? Order today
Sammy Stanley | 13 October, 2017, 10:27

The Supreme Court on Friday referred the much-debated issue as to whether women should be allowed to enter Sabarimala Sree Dharma Sastha Temple in Kerala's Pathanamthitta to a five-judge constitution bench.

Among the questions referred to the bench include the question of whether or not any group of people - women in this case - can be prevented from entering a Hindu place of worship according to current laws.

A 5-judge constitution bench will decide if Sabarimala Temple can restrict women's entry.

The apex court has framed several questions, including whether the temple can restrict women's entry, which are to be confronted by the constitution bench.

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The women aged between 10 and 50 are not allowed from taking the pilgrimage to Sabarimala temple. However, In January 2016, the court had questioned the ban, saying it can not be done under the Constitution. A 1991 Kerala High Court judgment supports the restriction imposed on women devotees. It said that this can not be done under the Constitution. A bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra will deliver the verdict after reserving it in February.

The management of the Sabarimala temple had told the apex court that it had banned the entry of women because they can't maintain their "pureness" on account of menstruation. If so, should their privilege to manage their religious affairs yield to the fundamental right of women to practice religion freely. This violates the rights of the women.

The LDF government, which was in power in Kerala when the petition was filed in 2006, had chosen not to oppose the petition and had filed an affidavit supporting the entry of women into the temple. After hearing petitions challenging the ban for quite some time now, the apex court is likely to announce its verdict today.

Advocate K K Venugopal, representing Travancore Devaswom Board said that the alleged discrimination was not between men and women but between women and women. "I am sure the judgement will also be very positive and landmark", activist Brinda Adige was quoted as saying by Indian Today.

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