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News Worms


Supreme Court to deliver verdict on women entering Kerala's Sabarimala temple today

Supreme Court to deliver verdict on women entering Kerala's Sabarimala temple today

The Supreme Court has referred to five-judge constitution bench on the women's entry in Sabarimala temple on restriction of age 10 to age 50 in the temple.

A bench headed by chief justice Dipak Misra said the issue of entry of women would be tested against the fundamental rights of Article 14 (equality under law) and Article 15 (prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste etc) of the Constitution of India.

The top court has also raised six questions on the issue to be considered by the Constitution bench.

The apex court was hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) challenging ban on women's entry into the Sabarimala temple. In November past year, after the Left government took charge in Kerala, there was a U-turn by the state government from its earlier stance and the affidavit stated that it was ready to allow women of all ages to enter Sabarimala.

As was usual for Buddhist monasteries in the middle ages, women were not allowed admission to a place inhabited exclusively by celibate monks.

The temple authorities are restricting entry of women citing tradition. The Constitution of India guarantees this right too.

The case in this regard is going on since 2016 when a petitioner filed a plea against ban on entry of menstruating women in the Kerala temple. Otherwise, we can not say it [India] is secular country. "We have demanded that the matter should be referred to the constitutional bench". Then again, the Constitution Bench will also choose whether the restriction is ensured by Article 25 (the privilege to religious opportunity) of the Ayyappa devotees. According to him, banning entry of women would be against the basic tenets of Hindu religion.

Women's rights activists have high hopes from the apex court.

"I hope it will allow women to enter the temple otherwise we can not say it is secular country".

The UDF government had taken a view that they were against the entry of women of the age group of 10-to-50 years as such a practice was being followed since time immemorial. The temple's rules are ultra vires the state Act which allows equal access to women to all public places such as temples.

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