Five judges to decide on Hindu women's right to temple

Sabarimala Temple

A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra also framed six questions to dealt with by the constitution bench.

The Supreme Court will declare its decision on the long-existing ban on entry of women.

The Supreme Court is hearing a plea challenging the practice of the ban on entry of women by the management of the Sabarimala temple.

RP Gupta, the counsel for the petitioners, submitted in court that there is no religious custom or usage in the Hindu religion specially in Pampa river region to disallow women during menstrual period.

The petition was filed by the Indian Young Lawyers Association, challenging the custom of the temple to bar entry of women in the 10-50 age bracket (of menstruating age).The custom had been termed as "discriminatory" in their petition. The apex court will examine whether this amounts to discrimination against women.

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Earlier this year in February, the apex court reserved an order while referring the case to a Constitution bench.

On Friday, the Supreme Court is likely to pronounce its landmark verdict on the entry of woman into Kerala's Sabarimala Temple. According to him, banning entry of women would be against the basic tenets of Hindu religion.

As was usual for Buddhist monasteries in the middle ages, women were not allowed admission to a place inhabited exclusively by celibate monks. It said that this can not be done under the Constitution. "We have demanded that the matter should be referred to the constitutional bench".

Is this prohibition by the religious body valid under the purview of religious freedom under Article 25 of the Constitution? It recently held that the practice of divorcing a woman by chanting "talaq, talaq, talaq" was illegal as it violated Muslim women's fundamental rights.

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. The court will be going great injustice to millions of devotees if it interferes and will set a precedent which will seriously affect other religious institutions, the board asked. And if so, would it not play foul of Articles 14 and 15 (3) of the Constitution by restricting entry of women on the ground of sex?

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