Should Sabarimala Shrine Allow Young Women? India's Top Judges To Decide

Sabarimala temple case Supreme Court refers matter to Constitution bench

In the dispute over the ban on women entering the famous Sabarimala shrine in Kerala, the country's most senior judges will examine whether "a biological factor like menstruation" can be grounds for discriminating against women.

During the hearing, the management of the Sabarimala temple, located on a hilltop in the Western Ghats of Pathanamthitta district, had earlier told the apex court that the ban on entry of women aged between 10 and 50 years was because they can not maintain purity on account of menstruation.

The Bench had even indicated that the 1991 judgment of the High Court, upholding the restriction on women, was no bar on a Constitution Bench from deciding the issue afresh.

The management of the Sabarimala temple, located on a hilltop in the Western Ghats of Pathanamthitta district, had earlier told the apex court that the ban on entry of women aged between 10 and 50 years was because they can not maintain "purity" on account of menstruation. Women, aged between 10 and 50, are restricted to take a Sabarimala pilgrimage.

In January 2016, the Supreme Court had challenged the ban saying that restriction on women from entering the temple can not be done under the Constitution and in February 2017, it reserved its order. Venogopal told the court that it was a question of religious diversity and mentioned the name of Attukal Bhagavathy Temple in Kerala where men are not allowed. It said that this can not be done under the Constitution. The case has been listed for judgement under Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and Justices R Banumathi and Ashok Bhushan.

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The management of the temple had stated that ban on entry of women was because they can not maintain "purity" on account of menstruation.

The case in this regard is going on since 2016 when a petitioner filed a plea against ban on entry of menstruating women in the Kerala temple. We understand the seriousness of issue.

Supreme Court had in July 2016 indicated that it could refer the matter to the bench. I am hoping that tomorrow also entry of women in Sabarimala would be positive.

Whether the practice of regulating entry of women is an essential religious practice under Article 25?

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