Supreme Court to Pronounce Entry Of Women at Sabarimala Temple

Phillip Cunningham
October 14, 2017

The Supreme Court today pronounced its judgment on the ban on women's entry into Sabarimala temple in Kerala.

The management of the temple had stated that ban on entry of women was because they can not maintain "purity" on account of menstruation.

The petition was filed by the Indian Young Lawyers Association, challenging the custom of the temple to bar entry of women in the 10-50 age bracket (of menstruating age).The custom had been termed as "discriminatory" in their petition.

On Friday, the Supreme Court is likely to pronounce its landmark verdict on the entry of woman into Kerala's Sabarimala Temple. Girls and women of menstruating age are not allowed in the premises of the temple, which houses Lord Ayyappan.

"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. Otherwise, we can not say it [India] is secular country. The matter pertains to a ban on women at Kerala's historic Sabarimala temple. You can not refuse entry to a woman who comes there ... It said that the government was sticking to its 2007 stand, when it filed an affidavit seeking the removal of the ban.

"I hope it will allow women to enter the temple otherwise we can not say it is secular country". This violates the rights of the women.

"A temple is a public religious place".

The temple authorities have justified the restriction ladies within the 10-50 age group, saying it is a firm practice established in convention.

Whether the practice of excluding such women constitutes an "essential religious practice" under Article 25 and whether a religious institution can assert a claim in that regard under the umbrella of right to manage its own affairs in the matters of religion?

The Constitution Bench will decide whether the boycott enforced under Rule 3 (b) of the Kerala Hindu Places of Public Worship (Authorisation of Entry) Rules, 1965 (ladies at such time amid which they are not by custom and usage allowed to enter a place of public worship) is violative of the basic rights of women to appreciate religion freely.

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