The Supreme Court will on Friday pronounce verdict on whether to refer to a Constitution Bench a bunch of petitions challenging the age-old practice in Kerala's famed Sabarimala temple to restrict entry of women of a certain age.
The apex court had reserved the order on referring the case to a constitution bench in February.
The temple prohibits women aged between 10 and 50 from undertaking pilgrimage to Sabarimala - which means women are banned from even making the arduous trek to the shrine.
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The UDF government had taken a view that it was against the entry of women of the age group of 10-to-50 years as such a practice was being followed since time immemorial.
The top court has also raised six questions on the issue to be considered by the Constitution bench.
Venugopal's submission was opposed by senior counsel Indira Jaising who said any right of a religious denomination has to be subject to right to equality and Article right to non-discrimination under Article 14 and Article 15 respectively.
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The court of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and Justices R Banumathi and Ashok Bhushan has made this decision.
LDF govt in 2007 filed an affidavit, saying it favoured entry of women in the temple. I am hoping that tomorrow also the entry of women in Sabarimala would be positive. This customary ban had been codified in Kerala Hindu Places of Public Worship (Authorisation of Entry) Rules, 1965. The PIL of the Indian Young Lawyers Association challenges the temple custom stating that it is discriminatory. A 1991 Kerala High Court judgment supports the restriction imposed on women devotees. You can not refuse entry to a woman who comes there ... Talking to ANI, women activist Brinda Adige said, "Since last couple of months, we have been seeing that the Supreme Court is bringing out several progressive and landmark judgments. I am sure the judgement will also be very positive and landmark". 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.
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