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Sabarimala temple row: ‘Woman’s right to pray is equal to that of a man’, says Supreme Court

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday observed that banning the entry of women in Sabarimala by the temple authorities is unconstitutional and questioned the temple authorities regarding the same.

“On what basis you (temple authorities) deny the entry. It is against the Constitutional mandate. Once you open it for the public, anybody can go,” observed the Chief Justice of India, Dipak Mishra.

Supreme Court Judge DY Chandrachud also said that the right to pray is equal for both men and women.


“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,” observed Justice Chandrachud.

Senior Supreme Court lawyer, Indira Jaising, one of the interveners in the case argued that worship is something one’s own right.

Senior Supreme Court lawyer and Amicus Curiae (Friend of the Court) Raju Ramachandran, also argued before the Supreme Courts’ five-judge Constitution bench on the Sabarimala temple issue that women should be allowed entry in the temple.

“Women of age group 10-50 shall be allowed to enter in the temple,” said Ramachandran.

Kerala minister K Surendran has explained that Kerala government has taken the stand that women should be allowed in the Sabarimala Temple. The government also filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court regarding the same.

“State Government’s stand is that women should be allowed to offer prayers in Sabarimala Temple. We’ve filed an affidavit in SC explaining our stand. Now it has to take a decision. We’re bound to obey its verdict. Devaswom board now have the same opinion as government,” said K Surendran. Activist Trupti Desai also expressed her happiness with the ongoing observation of the Supreme Court.

“People should accept and welcome the Supreme Court’s decision. This is just the beginning of the victory of our protests. There should be no discrimination between the devotees. Everybody should be given the entry in the temple,” said Desai.

The Supreme Court heard the petition seeking the elimination of the ban imposed on the entry of a section of women to Kerala’s Sabarimala Temple. The top court had earlier referred the petition seeking the lifting of the ban on entry of women who are in their menstruating years to the temple, to a Constitution Bench on October 13 last year.

As per norms prescribed by the temple board, women aged between 10 and 50 are prohibited from visiting the premises.

In January 2016, the court had questioned the ban, saying this could not be done under the Constitution.
In November the same year, the Kerala Government had told the Supreme Court that it was ready to allow women inside the sanctum sanctorum of the temple, a prominent pilgrimage site among Hindu devotees in the state of Kerala.