Wednesday, 13 December, 2017

Sabarimala Temple issue referred to SC constitution bench

The court is hearing a PIL filed in 2006 by non-profit body Indian Young Lawyers’ Association seeking entry for all women and girls to the Sabarimala shrine Supreme Court to deliver verdict on women entering Kerala's Sabarimala temple today
Sammy Stanley | 14 October, 2017, 00:47

A Constitution bench of the Supreme Court will decide whether Hindu women's right to equal access to temples and their fundamental right to worship can be overruled on the grounds of religious tradition.

On Friday the apex court bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices R Banumathi and Ashok Bhushan thought it was better that a constitution bench hear this.

Today, the Supreme Court has shifted the Sabarimala case to the Constitution Bench after apex court judges raised several questions. The temple bans the entry of women aged 10 to 50 into the temple, and the Indian Young Lawyers' Association has filed a writ petition against this practice. In November a year ago, 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.

"I hope it [SC] will allow women to enter the temple". The questions included whether the historic temple can restrict women's entry and whether the restriction of entry of women into the temple was violative of their rights under the Constitution.

The CPM-led Left Front government in 2007 had filed an affidavit saying that it favoured entry of women in the temple but this position was reversed in an affidavit filed by the Congress-led UDF government in February 2016.

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

"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".

It is also to be decided whether Rule 3 (b) of the Kerala Hindu Places of Worship Act violates Article 14.

In July, it had said that "a temple is a public religious place. Every right needs to be balanced but every balancing has its own limitations..." The court will be going great injustice to millions of devotees if it interferes and will set a precedent which will seriously affect other religious institutions, the board asked.

The UDF government had taken a view that it was against the entry of women of the age group of 10-50 years as such a practice was being followed since time immemorial.

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