Supreme Court to Pronounce Entry Of Women at Sabarimala Temple

Supreme Court to Pronounce Entry Of Women at Sabarimala Temple

Supreme Court to Pronounce Entry Of Women at Sabarimala Temple

A bench comprising Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and Justices R Banumathi and Ashok Bhushan passed the order.

The Supreme Court on Friday referred the Sabarimala temple case to a Constitution bench.

Sabarimala, one of Kerala's most renowned temples which has Lord Ayappa as the presiding deity, does not allow menstruating women to enter the temple. It said the constitution bench will also deal with the question whether this practice amounted to discrimination against the women. 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.

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A Constitution Bench will decide whether the rights of women, especially their fundamental right to religious freedom and to pray at the place of their choice, can be discriminated against by a temple managed by a statutory board - here the Travancore Devaswom Board - created by a State Legislature.

Among the questions referred to the bench include the question of whether or not any group of people - women in this case - can be prevented from entering a Hindu place of worship according to current laws. Challenging the ban restrictions on entry of women into the Sabarimala temple, the top court has been hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL).

As was usual for Buddhist monasteries in the middle ages, women were not allowed admission to a place inhabited exclusively by celibate monks.

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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".

Initially, the LDF government had taken a progressive stand in 2007 by favouring women's entry into the temple, which was over-turned by the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) dispensation later.

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.

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