No decision on Sabarimala Temple Entry for women, referred to constitution bench

No decision on Sabarimala Temple Entry for women, referred to constitution bench

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.

The Constitutional Bench will now have to decide whether the ban on entry of women between the age of 10 and 50, to the Lord Ayyappa shrine in Pathanamthitta, is in violation of fundamental rights - particularly, women's right to equality and right to religious freedom.

On Friday, the Supreme Court is likely to pronounce its landmark verdict on the entry of woman into Kerala's Sabarimala Temple.

The women aged between 10 and 50 are not allowed from taking the pilgrimage to Sabarimala temple. According to him, banning entry of women would be against the basic tenets of Hindu religion.

Is restricting the entry of women on the ground of gender in accordance with constitutional rights?

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. Otherwise, we can not say it [India] is secular country.

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Surendran said the government wholeheartedly welcomed the SC decision.

It is being asked: Can this practice in religious institutions be allowed to stop women?

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. This violates the rights of the women. Article 15 of the Constitution places a clear constitutional obligation on the state to not discriminate against any citizen on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth.

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.

Senior counsel K.K. Venugopal appearing for the Travancore Davaswom Board, which manages the Sabarimala temple, had requested the bench to the matter to a constitution bench. And if they are within the authority of the Act, are they constitutional - particularly, Rule 3 (b), which talks about the entry of women and girls.

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