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SC questions ban on entry for women at Sabarimala temple

India TV News Desk 11 Jan 2016, 19:03:47 IST
India TV News Desk

New Delhi: The Supreme Court today invoked the Constitution to question an age-old tradition that bars the entry of women of menstrual age group in the historic Sabarimala temple in Kerala.

"The temple cannot prohibit entry (of women), except on the basis of religion. Unless you have a constitutional right, you cannot prohibit entry. Anyway, we will examine it on February 8," a bench of Justices Dipak Misra and N V Ramana said.

The bench was hearing a PIL filed by the Young Lawyers Association seeking entry for all women and girls in the Sabarimala temple which, as a practice, does not allow girls after attaining puberty to enter the premises.

However, women, who have crossed menopause, are allowed.

During the brief hearing today, the bench posed a query as to why women cannot be allowed inside and observed that the practice was not supported by the constitutional scheme.

It asked the government whether it was sure that women have not entered the temple premises in the last 1,500 years.

The bench also observed that it was a public temple and everyone needed to have "the right to access". At best, there can be religious restrictions and not a general restriction, it said.

Senior advocate K K Venugopal, appearing for Kerala, said the women, who have not attained menopause, cannot preserve the purity during the religious journey to the temple, located on a hilltop, which usually spans 41 days.

(With PTI inputs)