Women have the right to enter, pray in Sabarimala temple: Supreme Court

Banning women aged between 10 and 50 from entering the Sabarimala temple in Kerala runs afoul of their constitutional rights, the Supreme Court observed on Wednesday.

Published: 18th July 2018 03:59 PM  |   Last Updated: 19th July 2018 05:51 AM   |  A+A-

A crowded Sabarimala Lord Ayyappa temple on the eve of the Makaravilakku ceremony on Saturday (File Photo | Shaji Veetipuram)

By Express News Service

NEW DELHI:Banning women aged between 10 and 50 from entering the Sabarimala temple in Kerala runs afoul of their constitutional rights, the Supreme Court observed on Wednesday. Hearing a batch of petitions challenging the age-old prohibition on women in the menstruating age group in the famed hill shrine, the apex court said women’s right to worship is a constitutional one and it does not depend on laws.

“On what basis you (temple authorities) deny the entry? ...Once you open it for public, anybody can go. If there is a temple, then it is a public place and everyone is allowed to go there. If men can go there, women can also go,” said CJI Dipak Misra.

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Advocate Ravi Prakash Gupta appearing for petitioner Indian Young Lawyers Association argued, “Such discrimination is totally anti-Hindu.” The hearing will continue on Thursday.

Every woman is also creation of God: SC

Following attempts by some women’s groups to enter the temple disregarding the restrictions early this year, the authorities made age proof mandatory for women to enter the temple.Justice D Y Chandrachud said, “Every woman is also the creation of God and why should there be discrimination against them in employment or worship? All persons are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right freely to profess, practise and propagate religion. This means your right as a woman to pray is not dependent on a legislation. It is your constitutional right.”

CJI also opposed the stand of the Kerala government that ceremonial rules pertaining to temples and method of worship are set by the temple and are protected under the right to worship saying, “A temple cannot claim denominational rights.”

During the hearing, Kerala govt representative senior advocate Jaydeep Gupta said the state favours women’s entry to the temple. On this CJI said, “You are changing your stand again. This is the fourth time.” The bench was referring to the contrary affidavits of Kerala which had in 2015 had supported entry of women but made a U-turn in 2017

The Kerala government counsel said it would go by its first affidavit and support the cause of women. “You are changing with the changing times,” the bench remarked. Senior advocate Indira Jaising, appearing for one of the intervenors, assailed the practice and said ban on women  entry of certain age groups was violative of various fundamental rights including Art 17 which deals with untouchability.




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  • ammu

    Allowing to follow the traditional customs is also human right .Each temple has its own customs to be followed . All the devotees are aware of it and they are ready to follow it also When common people are ready to follow the rules and regulations of every temple so willingly who is the supreme court to stir it and spoil the harmony of life of many?At least the court should to know the cases in which it can indulge into. In our country there are so many problems in which court 's verdict is expected . court is meant to solve the problem not to create problems to people.
    3 years ago reply
  • M jayashree

    I am unable to understand why the court of law should interfere with this issue
    3 years ago reply
  • Arun

    A temple is never a public place
    3 years ago reply
  • satish chowhan

    Supreme Court should not be mending in to a temple affairs, if supreme court has the power to then, every religion should be treated similarly, Supreme could has to completely write Sharia Law along with Wakf board to be merged with Endowment dept, treating religions based on there vulnerability doesn't suits the secular judiciary.
    3 years ago reply
  • vinuj

    center might need to think about devotees. Sabarimala rules arent against the women
    3 years ago reply

    devaswom boards stand is opportunistic
    3 years ago reply
  • Kumar

    Why not apply same yardstick to all others religious places of various religions too too where Women are restricted
    3 years ago reply
  • VenkAt

    3 years ago reply
  • Milkha

    Will they also allow women entry into Sunni Mosques to pray along with men?
    3 years ago reply
    • Meena

      Lord Ayyappa's anger is showing. How can the law allow women to enter Shabarimala? There is some reason for which this was followed, go against it and take the brunt. Kerala is under waters, it might go worse.
      3 years ago reply
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