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Women have fundamental right to enter Sabarimala temple: Supreme Court

Earlier in January this year, the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB), which manages the Sabarimala Temple, had decided to make proof-of-age documents mandatory for female devotees at the shrine.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: July 18, 2018 9:45:21 pm
Several women activists have opposed the ban on the entry of women inside the temple. (File Photo)

Hearing the contentious issue relating to the ban on entry of women between 10 and 50 years of age in Kerala’s historic Sabarimala temple, the Supreme Court on Wednesday observed that a woman’s right to pray is equal to that of a man and it should not be dependent on law.

“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 DY Chandrachud.

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

The apex court began hearing the case on Tuesday and asked the counsel for petitioners Indian Young Lawyers’ Association and others to limit their arguments on the questions of reference made by a three-judge bench of apex court last year. The top court had last year asked a constitutional bench to examine the legality of the ban on entry of women in the age group of 10-50 at the temple.

The bench also comprising Justices R F Nariman, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra fixed the time limit for the counsel for petitioners and asked them to try to wrap up their arguments within the fixed time limit.

Meanwhile, Kerala minister K Surendran said that government is in favour of women’s entry inside the temple. “The State government’s stand is that women should be allowed to offer prayers in Sabarimala Temple. We have filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court explaining our stand. Now it has to take a decision. We are bound to obey its verdict. Devaswom board now has the same opinion as that of government,” Surendran told reporters.

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Several women activists have opposed the ban on the entry of women inside the temple. Earlier in January this year, the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB), which manages the Sabarimala Temple, had decided to make proof-of-age documents mandatory for female devotees at the shrine.

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First published on: 18-07-2018 at 03:39:09 pm
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