Entry of women in Sabarimala: I welcome SC ruling, says Kadakampally Surendran

Entry of women in Sabarimala: I welcome SC ruling, says Kadakampally Surendran

Entry of women in Sabarimala: I welcome SC ruling, says Kadakampally Surendran

The Supreme Court on Friday (October 13) referred the critical religious case of the entry into Kerala's Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple to a constitution bench.

The bench of Justice Dipak Misra, Justice R. Banumathi and Justice Ashok Bhushan had earlier reserved its verdict on referring the case to a constitution bench.

The Constitution Bench will answer the question whether a 1991 judgment of the Kerala High Court maintaining the restriction would add up to res judicata.

The reason for the ban on entry of women aged between 10 and 50 years as stated by the management of the Sabarimala temple, located on a hilltop in the Western Ghats of Pathanamthitta district was because they can not maintain "purity" on account of menstruation.

The temple, situated in the Pathanamthitta district of Kerala, restricts women aged between 10 and 50 from visiting the premises.

As was usual for Buddhist monasteries in the middle ages, women were not allowed admission to a place inhabited exclusively by celibate monks.

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

Is restricting the entry of women on the ground of gender in accordance with constitutional rights? It said that this can not be done under the Constitution.

A hope for a positive and landmark judgment in the matter was expressed by women right activist on Friday.

The UDF government had taken a view that they were against the entry of women of the age group of 10-to-50 years as such a practice was being followed since time immemorial. Then again, the Constitution Bench will also choose whether the restriction is ensured by Article 25 (the privilege to religious opportunity) of the Ayyappa devotees.

Whether Rule 3 (b) of Kerala Hindu Places of Public Worship (Authorization of Entry) Rules, 1965 is ultra vires the Kerala Hindu Places of Public Worship (Authorisation of Entry) Act, 1965 and, if treated to be intra vires, whether it will be violative of the provisions of Part III of the Constitution?

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