Supreme Court refers issue of entry of women into Sabarimala temple to constitution bench

The Supreme Court on Friday referred to its constitution bench the matter pertaining to a ban on the entry of women at Kerala's Sabarimala temple.

A three-judge bench headed by Chief justice Dipak Misra framed several questions to be dealt with by the constitution bench, including whether the temple can restrict women's entry.


"Such practices that exclude women from practising their freedom of religion need to be tested against the fundamental rights of the country," Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra while announcing the observation commented.

The apex court also framed a question about whether restricting the entry of women at the temple was violative of their rights under the Constitution. It said the constitution bench will also deal with the question whether this practice amounted to discrimination against the women.

The court was hearing the petition filed by the Indian Young Lawyers Association that challenged the custom of the temple to bar entry of women in the 10-50 age bracket (of menstruating age), saying it was discriminatory, NewsX reported.

Representational image. AP

File image of the Supreme Court. AP

The temple, situated in Pathanamthitta district, restricts women aged between 10 and 50 from taking the pilgrimage to Sabarimala temple, according to The Times of India.

The management of the temple had stated that ban on entry of women was because they cannot maintain "purity" on account of menstruation.

The petitioners also includes the Travancore Devasom Board that manages the temple and women’s organisations, The Indian Express reported.


In February, the apex court had reserved its order on referring the case to a constitution bench, Deccan Chronicle reported.

Questioning the age-old custom, the Supreme Court in July had said, "A temple is a public religious place and cannot refuse entry to a woman. This violates the rights of the women. Every right needs to be balanced but every balancing has its own limitations", the report further added.

On 7 November, 2016, the Kerala government had informed the apex court that it favoured the entry of women of all age groups in the historic Sabarimala temple.

Initially, the LDF government had taken a progressive stand in 2007 by favouring women's entry into the temple, which was over-turned by the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) dispensation later.

The UDF government had taken a view that it was against the entry of women of the age group of 10-50 years as such a practice was being followed since time immemorial.

With inputs from PTI


Published Date: Oct 13, 2017 11:25 am | Updated Date: Oct 13, 2017 12:14 pm


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