Supreme Court refers ban on women's entry at Sabarimala to constitution bench
14 October, 2017, 00:46 | Author: Darrell Lopez
The five-judge Constitution bench will have to deal with the questions raised by the court.
Senior counsel Jaideep Gupta had told the court that the Kerala government "supports the proposition that women of any age group should be permitted to enter the Sabarimala temple".
The reference to a larger bench was made by a three-judge bench headed by the Chief Justice Dipak Misra in a batch of petitions filed in 2006 by the Indian Young Lawyers Association and others opposing the ban on the women's entry to the temple. The entry of women, aged from 10 to 50, into the temple had been a topic of debates after the temple authorities had barred the women from entering the temple's premises.
Commenting on matter, an activist said that since last couple of months, we have seen that the Supreme Court is bringing out several progressive and landmark judgments; we are hoping that ruling on entry of women in Sabarimala would be positive.
The apex court had reserved the order on referring the case to a constitution bench in February.
A Constitution bench will decide on entry of women in the age group of 10 to 50 years in Kerala's Sabarimala temple.
As was usual for Buddhist monasteries in the middle ages, women were not allowed admission to a place inhabited exclusively by celibate monks. According to them, banning the entry of women would be against the basic tenets of Hinduism. The petitioners said that religious practice based on faith adhered to and followed by millions of Hindus for over a millennium, in consonance with the natural rights of men and women, does not violate fundamental rights without appreciating the scope of these rights.
A bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra (he was not Chief Justice then), J V Gopala Gowda and Justice Kurian Joseph was hearing the matter during April-May 2016. Being a temple with unique customs and practices, Sabarimala should be allowed to retain its ethnic character, " said TDB member Ajay Tharayil.
Is this prohibition by the religious body valid under the purview of religious freedom under Article 25 of the Constitution?
Questioning the age-old custom, the Supreme Court in July had said, "A temple is a public religious place and can not refuse entry to a woman".
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