May 23, 2018

Five judges to decide on Hindu women's right to temple

14 October 2017, 12:45 | Darrell Baldwin

No decision on Sabarimala Temple Entry for women, referred to constitution bench

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

The Supreme Court has referred to five-judge constitution bench on the women's entry in Sabarimala temple on restriction of age 10 to age 50 in the temple.

The apex Court also raised six questions on the issue to be considered by the Constitution bench, reports mentioned.

Women's rights activists and lawyers from Kerala had challenged a Sabarimala temple rule which restricts the entry of women in their reproductive phase on the ostensible grounds that the deity was a bachelor. In November past 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. Girls and women of menstruating age are not allowed in the premises of the temple, which houses Lord Ayyappan. According to them, banning the entry of women would be against the basic tenets of Hinduism. One of the significant aspects to be decided by the Constitution bench is whether restriction imposed, on entry into the temple amounts to infringement of fundamental rights of women.

The Supreme Court will declare its decision on the long-existing ban on entry of women. It said that this can not be done under the Constitution.

The Constitution bench now has to decide.

"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".

In 2008, the LDF government had filed an affidavit before the apex court supporting the entry of women of all age groups to Sabarimala, which bars women of menstruating age.

The larger Bench will choose whether the restriction on ladies to enter the sanctuary qualifies as a "essential religious practice" of the Hindu faith over which the summit court has no ward.

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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