Is tradition above Constitution? SC questions ban on women’s entry in Sabarimala temple

The Supreme Court on Monday asked the lawyers representing Sabarimala Temple trust, whether tradition is above Constitution. The next hearing in the case will take place on April 13.

While hearing the plea against ban on entry of menstruating women into Kerala’s Sabarimala temple, the court said that “gender discrimination in such a matter is unacceptable”.

The SC bench of Justice Dipak Misra, Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose and Justice NV Ramana asked what right does the temple has to forbid women from worshipping deity at the temple premises. “Anyone can worship God, he is omnipresent,” the top court said.

Yielding to a high voltage campaign by activists, the Shani Shingnapur temple trust last week allowed women to enter the sanctum Sanctorum, breaking the tradition followed for several decades. Significantly, lifting of all gender barriers for access to the core area came on the auspicious occasion of “Gudi Padwa”, marking New Year by people across Maharashtra.

The Bombay high court had on 1 April held that it is the women’s fundamental right to go into places of worship and the government is duty-bound to protect it. The debate over the issue escalated after a woman last year tried to enter and offer prayers at the Shani Shingnapur temple, in ‘breach’ of the age-old practice of prohibiting entry of women.



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