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

Sabarimala temple case Supreme Court refers matter to Constitution bench

The Supreme Court on Friday referred to its constitution bench the matter pertaining to a ban on the entry of women at Kerala's Sabarimala temple.

In February, the apex court had reserved its order on referring the case to a constitution bench, Deccan Chronicle reported. The management of the Sabarimala temple has said earlier the ban on women entry between the ages 10-50 was because they can not maintain the purity on account of menstruation. In November a year ago, 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.

The Constitutional Bench is also dealing with the question such practice of restricting the women to enter the temple is discrimination against women.

"The temple can not prohibit entry (women), except on the basis of religion".

A three-judge bench headed by Chief justice Dipak Misra framed several questions to be dealt with by the constitution bench, including whether the temple can restrict women's entry.

LDF govt in 2007 filed an affidavit, saying it favoured entry of women in the temple. This customary ban had been codified in Kerala Hindu Places of Public Worship (Authorisation of Entry) Rules, 1965.

Petitioner Indian Young Lawyers Association is in favour of the opening of the temple gates to women but Travancore Davaswom Board and others opposing the plea. Venogopal told the court that it was a question of religious diversity and mentioned the name of Attukal Bhagavathy Temple in Kerala where men are not allowed. Unless you have a constitutional right, you can not prohibit entry. Meanwhile, the apex court had asked all the parties to submit their submissions. This violates the rights of the women. We understand the seriousness of issue.

Women's rights activists have high hopes from the apex court. I am hoping that tomorrow also the entry of women in Sabarimala would be positive. "I am sure the judgement will also be very positive and landmark".

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