Sabarimala: Supreme Court asks if menstruation can be 'guiding factor' in denying women entry

The Supreme Court, which is currently hearing a plea to allow menstruating women to enter the Sabarimala temple, questioned the temple management’s ban on their entry and wondered if a “physiological phenomenon” is a good enough reason for continuing the tradition, reported ANI.

According to NDTV, the Sabarimala temple trust and the Kerala state government argued in the apex court that menstruating women should not be allowed into the temple as the deity is a celibate and if these women are allowed, it will mar his “purity”.

Supreme Court. AFP

Supreme Court. AFP

"Temple management developed a custom and tradition which is being followed to maintain purity of Lord. The question is - can it be done on physiological phenomenon? Can it be guiding factor to deny entry of women in temple?," ANI quoted the bench as observing.

The bench made the observation while hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Indian Young Lawyers' Association, reported India Today. The IYLA is in favour of lifting the ban on women’s entry.

According to NDTV, the bench also observed that the Hindu religion does not use different denominations for a male and a female. "A Hindu is a Hindu".

During the hearing on Monday, the Supreme Court had said that temples that deny or restrict women's entry undermine the fight for gender equality and have no constitutional right to do so.

Asking the board which manages the Sabarimala temple to explain why it bans women, Justice Dipak Misra, head of a three-judge bench, said, "What right does the temple have to forbid women from entering any part of the temple? Can you deny a woman her right to climb Mount Everest? The reasons for banning anything must be common for all."

"Gender discrimination in such a matter is unacceptable," he said, adding that the temple's arguments must be based on the nation's constitution.

Meanwhile, Trupti Desai, the leader of the Bhoomata Brigade group that fought for women being allowed entry to Shani Shingnapur and Trimbakeshwar temples, told ANI that if the SC ruled against the Sabarimala temple trust, she would definitely visit the temple.

The SC will resume hearing the plea on 18 April, reports ANI.

With inputs from Reuters

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Updated Date: Apr 13, 2016 17:46:55 IST

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