SC refers case on women's entry in Sabarimala shrine to Constitution bench

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The Supreme Court today referred the matter pertaining to the ban on the entry of women into Kerala's famous Sabrimala temple to a five-judge constitution bench. The management of the Sabarimala temple has said earlier the ban on women entry between the ages 10-50 was because they can not maintain the purity on account of menstruation.

In February, the top court had indicated that it may refer a plea for allowing entry of women aged between 10 to 50 years in the temple to a five-judge constitution bench.

The temple, situated in Pathanamthitta district, restricts women aged between 10 and 50 from taking the pilgrimage to Sabarimala temple, according to The Times of India. "Unless you have a constitutional right, you can not prohibit entry", the court had said.

Venugopal's submission was opposed by senior counsel Indira Jaising who said any right of a religious denomination has to be subject to right to equality and Article right to non-discrimination under Article 14 and Article 15 respectively.

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Another women's rights activist is also hoping that the SC rules in the favour of the women as India is a secular country.

Sabarimala, one of Kerala's most renowned temples which has Lord Ayappa as the presiding deity, does not allow menstruating women to enter the temple. We understand the seriousness of issue.

Meanwhile, women's rights activists are hoping for a positive judgment today.

"In the last couple of months, we have been seeing that the Supreme Court is bringing out several progressive and landmark judgments".

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The temple's restriction on menstruating women has been a bone of contention in recent times, raising legal questions about women's right to pray and right to equality, as guaranteed by the Constitution of India.Article 14 of the Constitution of India guarantees that the state can not deny any person equality before the law or equal protection of the law.

The court is hearing a PIL filed in 2006 by non-profit body Indian Young Lawyers' Association, seeking entry for all women and girls to the Sabarimala shrine. "I am sure the judgment will also be very positive and landmark", she was quoted as saying.

"I hope it will allow women to enter the temple otherwise we can not say it is secular country. The restriction will be removed hopefully", Ghosh told a leading news channel.

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