Supreme Court is to hear from a batch of petitions challenging the ban on entry of women in the age group of 10 to 50 in Sabarimala temple in Kerala as violative of right to equality.
A five judge Constitution bench headed by the Chief Justice Dipak Misra is to examine the legal validity of such a ban.
The Indian Young Lawyers Association and others filed the petition in 2006 opposing the ban on entry of women who are in the age group of 10 to 50 citing ‘menstruation’ as the reason for such prohibition.
It was submitted by them that there is no religious custom or usage in the Hindu religion especially in Pampa river region to disallow women during menstrual period.
According to them banning entry of women would be against the basic tenets of Hindu religion.
Notifications which stipulate a ban of women from the age of 10 to 50 from entering the temple is contrary to the 1965 Kerala Temple Entry Act as well as the Constitution.
Further Sabarimala is not a denominational temple but a temple for all Hindus and, therefore, Article 26(b) (giving such protection) is not attracted.
The said temple permits all categories of Hindus to enter the temple regardless of the denomination.
Those who supported the ban submitted that the concept “essential part of religious practice” has to be decided by the court with reference to the practices, which are regarded, by the large sections for several centuries.>