Temple Opened For Public so Everyone Can go, Says Supreme Court in Sabarimala
The Supreme Court on Wednesday said that denying entry to women in Sabarimala Temple is against the Constitutional mandate. A five-judge Constitution bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and comprising justices RF Nariman, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra was hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) challenging the ban on women from entering the hill temple in the Pathanamthitta district.
“On what basis you (temple authorities) deny the entry. It is against the Constitutional mandate. Once you open it to the public, anybody can go,” observed the Chief Justice of India. Justice DY Chandrachud said, “Your (intervener) right to pray, being a woman, is equal to that of a man and it is not dependent on a law to enable you to do that.”
Another issue referred to the bench is whether the practice of excluding such women is an “essential religious practice” under Article 25 of the Constitution and whether a religious institution can assert a claim in that regard under the umbrella of the right to manage its own affairs in the matters of religion.
Kerala Minister K Surendran said that the state government’s stand is that women should be allowed to offer prayers at the temple. “We have filed an affidavit in SC explaining our stand. Now the court has to take a decision. We’re bound to obey its verdict. Devaswom board has the same opinion as of the government,” he said.
On October 13, 2017, the Supreme Court had referred the issue to a Constitution bench after framing five ‘significant’ questions, including whether the practice of banning entry of women in the temple amounted to discrimination and violated their fundamental rights under the Constitution.
PostedOn: 18 Jul 2018
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