New Delhi, Oct 13: The Supreme Court today referred the Sabarimala temple case to a five-judge Constitution bench. The Constitution bench will now decide if the women should be allowed to enter the Sabarimala temple in Kerala and if the temple management can curb the right to pray. The apex Court also raised six questions on the issue to be considered by the Constitution bench, reports mentioned. The Supreme Court today pronounced its judgment on the ban on women’s entry into Sabarimala temple in Kerala.
In February, the apex court had reserved its order on referring the case to a constitution bench. The matter had been listed for an order in the court of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and Justices R Banumathi and Ashok Bhushan. (Also Read: Picture of young women spotted in Sabarimala Temple Goes Viral, Kerala government orders probe)
The apex court was hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) challenging ban on women’s entry into the Sabarimala temple. Women, aged between 10 and 50, are restricted to take a Sabarimala pilgrimage. The PIL of the Indian Young Lawyers Association challenges the temple custom stating that it is discriminatory. The Kerala High Court had upheld the custom in 1991.
The management of the Sabarimala temple had told the apex court that it had banned the entry of women because they can’t maintain their “pureness” on account of menstruation. (Also Read: No custom, tradition should stop a citizen from praying, says activist Brinda Adige)
In January 2016, the Supreme Court had challenged the ban saying that restriction on women from entering the temple cannot be done under the Constitution and in February 2017, it reserved its order. It had asked the parties to file written submissions that would fall under the Constitution.
“A temple is a public religious place. You cannot refuse entry to a woman who comes there … It violates the rights of women. We understand the seriousness of issue. Every right needs to be balanced but every balancing has its own limitations…,” the apex court had said challenging the ban.
Senior Counsel KK Venugopal who appeared for Travancore Devasom Board, which manages the shrine, had told the court that the discrimination wasn’t between men and women but was between women and women.
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. ” I am hoping that tomorrow also the entry of women in Sabarimala would be positive. I am sure the judgment will also be very positive and landmark,” she was quoted as saying.