Verdict On Ban On Women's Entry In Sabarimala Temple Today

14 October, 2017, 00:44 | Author: Hope Soto
  • Sabarimala Temple

The apex court has referred the matter of women's entry into Kerala's historic Sabarimala Lord Ayyappa temple to Constitution bench.

Considering the writ petition filed by Indian Young Lawyers Association, Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, Justice R Banumati and Justice Ashok Bhushan, referred the case to a larger Constitutional Bench.

The top court has also raised six questions on the issue that it wants the constitution bench to consider.

It will also examine whether the fundamental rights of women are being infringed upon by the imposition of a ban on the entry of women between the ages of 10 and 50 by the temple authorities. In November previous 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. In all other Ayyappa temples in Kerala, other parts of the country and overseas, women are allowed entry without any discrimination.

The earlier UDF government's affidavit before the Supreme Court had supported the temple's tradition that the deity's form is that of a Naisthak Bramhachari who observes celibacy and therefore, young women should not worship in the temple.

Is restricting the entry of women on the ground of gender in accordance with constitutional rights? Otherwise, we can not say it [India] is secular country. You can not refuse entry to a woman who comes there ...

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The Constitution bench now has to decide.

"A temple is a public religious place".

Women's rights activists have high hopes from the apex court. Being a temple with unique customs and practices, Sabarimala should be allowed to retain its ethnic character, " said TDB member Ajay Tharayil.

That is, if the Sabarimala devotees are considered a separate denomination, then does this denomination have a right to ban the entry of women and girls?

Whether Rule 3 (b) of Kerala Hindu Places of Public Worship (Authorization of Entry) Rules, 1965 is ultra vires the Kerala Hindu Places of Public Worship (Authorisation of Entry) Act, 1965 and, if treated to be intra vires, whether it will be violative of the provisions of Part III of the Constitution?

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