SC to look at Sabarimala issue on constitutional lines

The Supreme Court on Friday said that it would examine the restriction imposed on menstruating women to enter Kerala’s Sabarimala temple on Constitutional parameters, saying neither the Vedas nor the Upanishads made such gender discrimination.

A three-judge bench presided by Justice Dipak Misra asked senior advocate K K Venugopal, appearing for the Travancore Devaswom Board, which managed the temple, to apprise the court whether this practice was “intricately fundamental” and cannot be interfered with.

Also citing the Bhagwat Gita, the bench asked, “The God does not discriminate between men and women, so why there should be gender discrimination in premises of the temple.”

The bench, also comprising Justices N V Ramana and P C Ghose, referred to a mythological story about Sati Anusuyia who had turned Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh into kids and asked, “how can you stop the mother from entering the temple.”

Venugopal submitted that this practice of prohibiting women of menstrual age in the Sabarimala temple was being followed for centuries, an aspect which should be kept in mind while deciding the matter.

He, however, sought six weeks time for filing evidence including documents and ancient scriptures on the issue.

The bench also took note of Kerala government’s “somersault” in an affidavit upholding entry ban for women saying, “We will test it also as to whether it can take a somersault or U-turn”.

Senior advocate V Giri, appearing for Kerala submitted a party can always correct its earlier erroneous stand.

 The Kerala government banning entry of women of menstrual age in the temple was a “matter of religion” and it was duty-bound to protect it.

The court, which put the matter for further consideration on April 11, appointed senior advocates Raju Ramachandran and K Ramamurthy to assist in the case.

The court also took on record a submission by the Delhi Police that adequate security be provided to petitioner Indian Young Lawyers Association president Naushad Ahmad Khan, who has been getting threats following filing a PIL against the practice.
DH News Service

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