LDF supports restriction on women in Sabarimala

LDF supports restriction on women in Sabarimala

Maintaining status quo

LDF supports restriction on women in Sabarimala

The Kerala government on Monday supported before the Supreme Court the restriction imposed on entry of women aged between 10  and 50 years of age to the Sabarimala temple.

Senior advocate V Giri, appearing for the state government, submitted before a three-judge bench presided over by Justice Dipak Misra that the previous affidavit was not at all to be changed.

This prompted the bench to ask him, “Are you sure you appear for the state?”Giri, on his part, maintained as of now the government supported the affidavit.

“We are not here on what a deputy secretary or secretary said. We are here to help unscramble the constitutional questions involved in the issue,” he said. Giri had earlier also represented the Kerala government.

In the affidavit filed in February, the then Kerala government defended the restriction on entry of women in the temple, saying the rituals, ceremonies and modes of worship are exclusive matters of religion protected under the Constitution.

It had said the Sabarimala temple is unique as it allowed entry of devotees from different faiths, including Muslims, so the view taken by the priests is final.

Notably, the Congress-led UDF government had made a volte face from its earlier position in 2007 wherein the efficacy of the established rituals was questioned by it.

Senior advocate Indira Jaising, appearing for an NGO, pointed out the stand taken by state government’s counsel was apparently not in tune with the news report.

Next hearing on Nov 7

During the hearing, the bench, also comprising Justices C Nagappan and R Banumathi, said there was a need for balancing of rights of women, who wanted entry and the temple that tried to maintain its practice.

The court also indicated that the matter concerning the Public interest litigation by Indian Young Lawyers Association may be referred to the Constitution bench, if need arises. The court posted the matter for further consideration on November 7.

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