NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court is all set to pronounce its verdict on whether to refer the matters related to the ban on entry of women aged between 10 to 50 years at Kerala’s Sabarimala temple to its Constitution bench or not on Friday. A bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra will deliver the verdict after reserving it in February.
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 cannot maintain purity on account of menstruation.
The court is hearing a plea challenging practice of banning entry of such women in the temple.
Advocate K K Venugopal, representing Travancore Devaswom Board said that the alleged discrimination was not between men and women but between women and women. “The case is nothing but interpretation of Articles of the Constitution.”
Venugopal cited Article 25 and 26 and stated that in this case, Article 26 of the Constitution would prevail over Article 25. 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. He sought to emphasize that there was no blanket ban on women.
Venugopal’s submission was opposed by senior counsel Indira Jaising who said any right of a religious denomination has to be subject to right to equality and Article right to non-discrimination under Article 14 and Article 15 respectively. “There is no doubt that apart from being omnipresent, the God, whether he or she, is present everywhere in every item. We are not going to discuss about that. There is distinction between religion and spirituality, spirituality and philosophy and philosophy and religion,” the bench observed.