Kerala backs women's entry in Sabarimala

Kerala backs women's entry in Sabarimala

Kerry Wise
November 8, 2016

Initially, the LDF government had taken a progressive stand in 2007 by favouring women's entry in the temple, which was over-turned by the Congress-led United Democratic Front dispensation later. The ruling CPI (M), however, took a U-turn the next day, saying it would submit a fresh affidavit seeking entry for women of all ages.

The Travancore Devaswon Board appealed to a three judge bench led by Justice Dipak Misra to refer the case to a Constitution Bench.

Kerala government informs SC it favours entry of women of all age groups in Sabarimala temple.

"Women of all age groups should be allowed in the famous Sabarimala shrine of Kerala", the state government today told the Supreme Court, turning the opinion of the former Congress-led government.

Hindu pilgrims queue outside the Sabarimala Temple where women between the age of 10 to 50 are traditionally not allowed entry.

On being asked as to what is the stand of the State, senior advocate Gupta stated that the State meant to place its reliance on its original affidavit (2007) - and not on the additional affidavit - that said women of any age should not be debarred from entry into the temple to worship the deity, the bench said.

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The court, while recording the "unequivocal" position of the Kerala government and Devasthanam Board contending that the state position can not be altered at the convenience of the party in power, said that it would decide the issue on the next date of hearing on February 20, 2017.

Senior advocate K.K. Venugopal, who represents the Travancore Devaswom Board said that the case needs to be considered by constitution bench comprises five or more judges to examine the constitutional validity of the issue.

This was the first hearing after the Supreme Court changed the bench hearing a decade-old petition against the restriction on women aged between 10 and 50 from entering the temple, according to ANI news agency.

The case will be heard next on 20 February.

"Can a woman, because of the biological phenomenon, be debarred from entering into the temple". "The temple can not prohibit entry (of women), except on the basis of religion".