Published: Fri, October 13, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Sabarimala Temple Case: Supreme Court Refers Women's Entry Case to Constitution Bench

Sabarimala Temple Case: Supreme Court Refers Women's Entry Case to Constitution Bench

Challenging the ban on women's entry in Sabarimala temple in Kerala, the Supreme court will deliver is verdict on the petitions on Friday.

The Supreme Court had in July 2016 indicated that it may refer the question - whether the constitutional right to equality of a woman could be raised to "interfere" with the religious beliefs and customs denying entry to women in Sabarimala temple - to its constitution bench.

The apex court was hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) challenging ban on women's entry into the Sabarimala 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.

Earlier in 2016, citing the Constitution, the Supreme Court had questioned the ban, saying that this can not be done under Constitution.

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A three-judge bench headed by Chief justice Dipak Misra framed several questions to be dealt with by the constitution bench, including whether the temple can restrict women's entry.

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.

"A temple is a public religious place". The Kerala High Court had upheld the custom in 1991. You can not refuse entry to a woman who comes there ... The court had said that "gender discrimination in such a matter is unacceptable". I am hoping that tomorrow also the entry of women in Sabarimala would be positive. "I am sure the judgement will also be very positive and landmark", activist Brinda Adige was quoted as saying by Indian Today.

The management of the Sabarimala temple had told the apex court that it had banned the entry of women because they can't maintain their "pureness" on account of menstruation.

Another women's rights activist is also hoping that the SC rules in the favour of the women as India is a secular country.

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