Five judges to decide on Hindu women's right to temple

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

The state government on Friday welcomed the Supreme Court decision to refer to a five-judge constitution bench the matter pertaining to the ban on entry of youthful women to Sabarimala temple.

Supreme Court has referred the Sabarimala Temple Case to a Constitution bench.

On 11 January, the court had questioned the ban, saying this can not be done under the Constitution.

It will also examine whether the fundamental rights of women are being infringed upon by the imposition of a ban on the entry of women between the ages of 10 and 50 by the temple authorities.

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

On 7 November, 2016, the Kerala government had informed the apex court that it favoured the entry of women of all age groups in the historic Sabarimala temple. Otherwise, we can not say it [India] is secular country. According to him, banning entry of women would be against the basic tenets of Hindu religion.

The Constitution bench now has to decide.

The question that has been raised is: Does this ban on admission to the temple, on the basis of medical reasons of the woman violate the rights of equality?

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.

"I hope it will allow women to enter the temple otherwise we can not say it is secular country".

Whether Ayyappa Temple has a denominational character and, if so, is it permissible on the part of a "religious denomination" managed by a statutory board and financed under Article 290-A of the Constitution of India out of Consolidated Fund of Kerala and Tamil Nadu can indulge in such practices violating constitutional principles/ morality embedded in Articles 14, 15 (3), 39 (a) and 51-A (e)?

The temple's restriction on menstruating women has been a bone of contention in recent times, raising legal questions about women's right to pray and right to equality, as guaranteed by the Constitution of India.Article 14 of the Constitution of India guarantees that the state can not deny any person equality before the law or equal protection of the law.

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