Supreme Court to deliver verdict on women entering Kerala's Sabarimala temple today

Sabarimala Temple

The Supreme Court will on Friday pronounce verdict on whether to refer to a Constitution Bench a bunch of petitions challenging the age-old practice in Kerala's famed Sabarimala temple to restrict entry of women of a certain age.

During the hearing, the management of the Sabarimala temple, located on a hilltop in the Western Ghats of Pathanamthitta district, had earlier told the apex court that the ban on entry of women aged between 10 and 50 years was because they can not maintain purity on account of menstruation.

The court was hearing a batch of Public Interest Litigations (PILs) challenging the ban on women's entry into the sanctum sanctorum of the famed Sabarimala temple. The centuries-old practice, was questioned by the court, in January 2016. A bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra will deliver the verdict after reserving it in February. You can not refuse entry to a woman who comes there.

The apex court has also framed several questions to be dealt with by constitution bench.

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In 2008, the LDF government had filed an affidavit before the apex court supporting the entry of women of all age groups to Sabarimala, which bars women of menstruating age. The said ban has statutory backing in the form of Rule 3 (b) of the Kerala Hindu Places of Public Worship (Authorisation of Entry) Rules, 1965. Unless you have a constitutional right, you can not prohibit entry.

Noting that this is not the first time that the Kerala government has changed its stand, the court asked the state to "unequivocally clarify its position". We understand the seriousness of issue. The coalition government, which returned to power in May, told the Supreme Court in July that it will not oppose the temple ban on women. I am hoping that tomorrow entry of women in Sabarimala would be positive. "I am sure the judgment will also be very positive and landmark", she was quoted as saying.

One of the questions by the apex court is also if restricting the entry of women violates their rights under the Constitution and amounted to discrimination against them.