SC refers Sabarimala Temple Case to Constitution bench

Sabarimala temple case Supreme Court refers matter to Constitution bench

Sabarimala temple case Supreme Court refers matter to Constitution bench

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

"The temple can not prohibit entry (of women), except on the basis of religion".

Gender activists and others waiting for today's Supreme Court judgment on the entry of women into Kerala's Sabarimala temple were slightly disappointed today after the court refused to rule one way or the other, instead referring the matter to a constitutional bench.

"I hope it [SC] will allow women to enter the temple. Unless you have a constitutional right, you can not prohibit entry", the court had said. It said Article 25 of the constitution gives the temple the right to manage its own affairs.

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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. According to them, banning the entry of women would be against the basic tenets of Hinduism.

Surendran said the government wholeheartedly welcomed the SC decision.

Those who supported the ban submitted that the concept "essential part of religious practice" has to be decided by the court with reference to the practices which are regarded important by large sections of the community for several centuries.

That is, if the Sabarimala devotees are considered a separate denomination, then does this denomination have a right to ban the entry of women and girls? Being a temple with unique customs and practices, Sabarimala should be allowed to retain its ethnic character, " said TDB member Ajay Tharayil.

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

Read: SC sends Sabarimala case to Constitutional Bench: 'Is prayer a fundamental right?'

"A temple is a public religious place". And if so, would it not play foul of Articles 14 and 15 (3) of the Constitution by restricting entry of women on the ground of sex?

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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