Sabarimala Temple Case: Supreme Court Refers Women's Entry Case to Constitution Bench

Remigio Civitarese
Ottobre 13, 2017

The Supreme Court on Friday referred to a Constitution Bench the question whether a ban on the entry of women in the age group 10-50 years in Kerala's Sabarimala temple was discriminatory and violative of the Right to Equality under Article 14.

In February this year, the Supreme Court reserved its order in the matter and asked the concerned parties to file a written submission which should fall under the Constitutional framework.

The apex court has also framed several questions to be dealt with by constitution bench.

The temple, situated in Pathanamthitta district, restricts women aged between 10 and 50 from taking the pilgrimage to Sabarimala temple, according to The Times of India.

In January 2016, the Supreme Court had questioned the age-old tradition saying it can not be done under the Constitution. 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. You can not refuse entry to a woman who comes there ...

The court is hearing a plea challenging the practice of banning entry of such women in the temple.

"Such practices that exclude women from practising their freedom of religion need to be tested against the fundamental rights of the country", Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra while announcing the observation commented.

In 2014, the Congress-led government said there was a "mistake" in its own submissions to court earlier and that women can not be permitted in the temple because of the deity's celibacy vows.

"Hoping a positive verdict, the women rights activist Brinda Adige had told Asian Age that for last few months, the SC had been giving positive, landmark and progressive verdicts". The bench will also rule on whether Sabarimala devotees form a separate religious denomination, and whether the temple, managed by the Travancore Devoswom Board, can "indulge" in a ban on women and girls inside the temple, in the name of 'morality'. "I am sure the judgment will also be very positive and landmark", she was quoted as saying.

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