Sunday, 17 December, 2017

Women right activists hopeful for landmark judgment in Sabarimala Temple case

Sabarimala temple Sabarimala temple
Melinda Barton | 13 October, 2017, 10:23

The Supreme Court (SC) today referred to its constitution bench the matter pertaining to a ban on the entry of women at Kerala's historic Sabarimala temple.

The apex court had reserved the order on referring the case to a constitution bench in February.

The court raised six questions on the issue to be considered by the Constitution bench. The apex court has been hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL), challenging the ban on entry of women into the Sabarimala Hill Temple.

This assumes significance as after coming to power, the CPM-led Left Front government has favoured the entry of women of all ages into Sabarimala temple - a position that is divergent from the one earlier taken by the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) government.

The Constitutional Bench is also dealing with the question such practice of restricting the women to enter the temple is discrimination against women. A 1991 Kerala High Court judgment supports the restriction imposed on women devotees. "Unless you have a constitutional right, you can not prohibit entry", the court had said.

"A temple is a public religious place". "The temple can not prohibit entry (of women), except on the basis of religion".

The bench comprised of Dipak Misra, R Banumathi, and Ashok Bhushan had earlier requested to submit the things that need to be presented at the Constitutional Bench. We understand the seriousness of issue.

Earlier, the apex court was told by the management of the Sabarimala temple that as the women can not maintain the "purity" on account of menstruation, the ban on entry of women aged between 10 and 50 years is imposed. "Every right needs to be balanced but every balancing has its own limitations...", the apex court had said challenging the ban. Talking to ANI, women activist Brinda Adige said, "Since last couple of months, we have been seeing that the Supreme Court is bringing out several progressive and landmark judgments".

The petitioners also includes the Travancore Devasom Board that manages the temple and women's organisations, The Indian Express reported.