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Supreme Court refers matter to Constitution bench

13 October 2017, 01:28 | Taylor George

Supreme Court to deliver verdict on women entering Kerala's Sabarimala temple today

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 bench of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and Justices R Banumathi and Ashok Bhushan framed several questions raised by the public interest litigation and held that these should be decided by a constitutional bench.

The Supreme Court on Friday referred to a Constitution Bench the question whether a ban on the entry of women in the age group 10-50 years in Kerala's Sabarimala temple was discriminatory and violative of the Right to Equality under Article 14.

The women aged between 10 and 50 are not allowed from taking the pilgrimage to Sabarimala temple.

The court had on February 20 reserved its order on whether to refer the matter to a constitution bench.

Many historians trace the roots of the Sabarimala Temple - dedicated to Dharma Shastha and situated in a heavily forested area - to a Buddhist monastery that was located in the hilly area.

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The larger Bench will choose whether the restriction on ladies to enter the sanctuary qualifies as a "essential religious practice" of the Hindu faith over which the summit court has no ward. Otherwise, we can not say it [India] is secular country. Therefore, it has barred women between 10 and 50 years of age from worship on the premises. "Every right needs to be balanced but every balancing has its own limitations", the report further added.

Women's rights activists have high hopes from the apex court. I am hoping that tomorrow entry of women in Sabarimala would be positive.

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.

Petitioner Indian Young Lawyers Association is in favour of the opening of the temple gates to women but Travancore Davaswom Board and others opposing the plea. "The restriction will be removed hopefully", Ghosh told a leading news channel.



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