Kerala govt changes stand again, bats for letting women of all age groups enter Sabarimala temple

The Supreme Court was hearing the petition seeking the entry of women into famous Sabarimala shrine.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: November 7, 2016 5:34 pm
Supreme Court, Sabarimala temple, Kerala-Sabarimala temple, petiton, women entry, ldf-sabarimala, indian express news, latest news, india news Supreme Court of India. (File Photo)

The Left Democratic Front-led government in Kerala on Monday told the Supreme Court that it is willing to allow the entry of women inside the sanctum sanctorum of Sabarimala temple. The apex court has set the next hearing on February 20.

The Supreme Court was hearing the petition seeking the entry of women into famous Sabarimala shrine.

Initially, the LDF government had favoured the entry of women in the temple in 2007 before the Congress-led United Democratic Front dispensation over-turned the decision later.

The UDF had then opposed the entry of women of the age group of 10-to-50 years into the temple before losing power to the LDF this year, saying that such a practice was being followed since time immemorial.

Earlier in April, the Court had questioned whether restricting entry of a particular gender into places of worship can be a matter of managing religious affairs, adding that it would test the validity of such rules on constitutional principles.

Subsequently, the Court had observed that the fundamental right of women to equality has to be balanced with the right of a group to profess and manage religious affairs before a decision can be taken regarding the ban on entry of women inside Sabarimala temple.

A bench led by Justice Dipak Misra had said that restriction on women to enter a place solely on the basis of gender was indeed discriminatory and a violation of their right, but the Constitution had also given a right to ensure freedom to profess and propagate religious practices and to manage religious affairs.

“We will have to balance the rights before we say anything,” the bench had said as it heard a PIL seeking that the ban on entry of women to Kerala’s historic temple should be immediately lifted. The plea argues that the practice symbolises a social anathema based on gender- discrimination.

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  1. M
    Nov 7, 2016 at 10:42 am
    Looks like the Kerala Govt. is trying to act smart here. Central Govt. is taking a stand against certain discriminatory practices against women in Islam and the State Govt. is now questioning practices in Hinduism. But the Kerala Govt. does not seem to understand that the Sabarimala temple has a culture that is coming in from hundreds of years and women are indeed allowed into the temple but not during certain period of their life. Also the practice is not discriminatory and does not play with the lives or livelihood of women. It is just a cultural aspect and Govt. does not have any role here.
    1. R
      Nov 7, 2016 at 12:43 pm
      You are wrong. Please check the facts, and don't be an agent of spreading falehood and rumors?
      1. S
        Nov 7, 2016 at 2:03 pm
        oh...yes yes... first in education..first in health..this is very much expected from u kerala..take the real lead..
        1. V
          Nov 7, 2016 at 11:57 am
          Yes, let women too visit all temples, mosques, and Churches.
          1. T
            Thomas George
            Nov 7, 2016 at 1:10 pm
            Ayyappan certainly seems quite local. As far as I know, there are no other old Ayyappan temples. Hindus and Muslims visit the temple.
            1. T
              Thomas George
              Nov 7, 2016 at 1:07 pm
              Culture is irrelevant. Social reforms change culture for the better. The initial restriction could have been because of the inaccessibility and presence of wild animals. Both are not a concern now. I support Uniform civil code and non- discrimination in all places of worship.
              1. C
                Chandrasekaran Venkataraman
                Nov 7, 2016 at 10:24 am
                THis is the problem incase the Government enters into the arena of religious practices. It is to be seen whether HCE Act empowers the Government to have a say in religious practices OR restricts only the administration and finance of the temples. (1) For, in the case in hand, women were not restricted fully but only of certain age group.(2) Secondly, in Kerala temples, even if a small child urinates, as per the religious custom and practices, various rituals have to be performed and the cost to be borne by the parent/guardian. (3) Thirdly, in Kerala Temples, even women of advanced stage of pregnancy is not allowed as they may not have control over bowel movements. The present Kerala Government may have a different view than the earlier one, but it is to be seen whether the Government is empowered to interfere in religious practices and customs.
                1. M
                  Nov 7, 2016 at 5:30 pm
                  Kerala Government’s opinion on Sabarimala Temples tradition is sought as all Hindu Temples of Kerala come under Devaswom Ministry. Hindu Temples are financially audited by Govt of Kerala.As of now, Christian Churches and Muslim Mosques are fully INDEPENDENT and function like PRIVATE SECTOR ENTERPRISES and cannot be financially audited by Govt of Kerala .If they are really Secular, Communists of Kerala should be able to bring all the Christian Churches and Muslim Mosques also under Devaswom Ministry so that in future, Government’s opinion will be sought of traditions of Christian Churches and Muslim Mosques of Kerala and like Hindu Temples, they too will be financially audited.
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