SC refers Sabarimala temple's ban on women to Constitution Bench

Cheryl Sanders
October 13, 2017

The Supreme Court today is expected to pronounce order on entry of women in Kerala's Sabarimala temple.

The SC has referred the matter relating to bar on entry of women of 15-50 age group (menstruating age) in Sabarimala temple to a five-judge Constitution Bench on Friday.

The temple, built in the 12th century, is located in Pathanamthitta district and is dedicated to Lord Ayappa. Meanwhile, on one side, women term the practice as discriminatory other sections say, it has to do with complex ritualistic practices of Sanatana Dharma of temples in south India. It said that this can not be done under the Constitution. You can not refuse entry to a woman who comes there.

Laws should not violate the fundamental rights enshrined in the Indian Constitution. We understand the seriousness of issue. 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. "Every right needs to be balanced but every balancing has its own limitations", the report further added.

Meanwhile, women's rights activists are hoping for a positive judgment today. Talking to ANI, women activist Brinda Adige said, "Since last couple of months, we have been seeing that the Supreme Court is bringing out several progressive and landmark judgments". I am hoping that tomorrow entry of women in Sabarimala would be positive. 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. The questions included whether the historic temple can restrict women's entry and whether the restriction of entry of women into the temple was violative of their rights under the Constitution.

As was usual for Buddhist monasteries in the middle ages, women were not allowed admission to a place inhabited exclusively by celibate monks. "The restriction will be removed hopefully", Ghosh told a leading news channel.

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