SC judges to test if Sabarimala ban on women can stay

Sabarimala temple case Supreme Court refers matter to Constitution bench

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

The Constitutional Bench is also dealing with the question such practice of restricting the women to enter the temple is discrimination against women.

"Since last couple of months, we have been seeing that the Supreme Court is bringing out several progressive and landmark judgments".

A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra also framed six questions to dealt with by the constitution bench.

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In January 2016, the court had questioned the ban, saying this could not be done under the Constitution.

There was no ban on girls below 10 years and women above 50 years to visit Sabarimala. The state government had supported the demands for allowing women in the menstrual age of 10 to 50 into the temple.

Senior counsel K.K. Venugopal appearing for the Travancore Davaswom Board, which manages the Sabarimala temple, had requested the bench to the matter to a constitution bench. "Unless you have a constitutional right, you can not prohibit entry", the court had said. Mr. Gopalakrishnan said women with dignity would not visit Sabarimala.

The Kerala government informed the court that women of all ages should be allowed entry and worship at Sabarimala Ayyappa temple without any restriction.

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The Supreme Court has, in the past, termed illegal traditional and religious practices that violate the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Indian constitution.

He asked if everyone was trying to make Sabarimala a Thailand by making women between the age of 10 to 50 climb uphill under the challenging weather conditions without any safety.

The petition argued that the ban, enforced by Rule 3 (b) of the Kerala Hindu Places of Public Worship (Authorization of Entry) Rules, 1965, was unconstitutional insofar as it violated Articles 14 (equality before law), 25 and 26 (freedom of religion).

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