Updated: November 7, 2016 5:34:00 pm
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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