The prohibition on the females aged between 10 and 50 from making entry to the Sabarimala temple in the state of Kerala runs afoul of their lawful rights, the Supreme Court observed today.
Hearing a batch of appeals that challenged the longstanding ban on females in the menstruating age bracket in the well known hill pilgrimage, the Supreme Court stated women’s right to worship is a legitimate one and it does not hinge upon laws.
“On what basis you (temple authorities) deny the entry? ...Once you open it for public, anybody can go. If there is a temple, then it is a public place and everyone is allowed to go there. If men can go there, women can also go,” stated CJI Dipak Misra.
Advocate Ravi Prakash Gupta appearing for requester Indian Young Lawyers Association indicated, “Such discrimination is totally anti-Hindu.”
Following efforts by a few women’s groups to make entry to the temple ignoring the rules early this year, the authorities turned age evidence obligatory for females to make entry to the temple.
Justice D Y Chandrachud said, “Every woman is also the creation of God and why should there be discrimination against them in employment or worship? All persons are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right freely to profess, practise and propagate religion. This means your right as a woman to pray is not dependent on a legislation. It is your constitutional right.”
CJI also defended the stand of the Kerala administration that traditional rules relating to temples and technique of respect are set by the place of worship and are confined under the right to adoration stating, “A temple cannot claim denominational rights.”
During the hearing, Kerala govt envoy senior advocate Jaydeep Gupta stated that the state supports women’s entry to the place of worship.
On this CJI said, “You are changing your stand again. This is the fourth time.”
“You are changing with the changing times,” the bench remarked.