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SC refers Sabarimala temple's ban on women to Constitution Bench

13 October 2017

Confining the questions for reference to the Constitution Bench, a Bench of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, Justices R. Banumathi and Ashok Bhushan stated, basically, the Constitution Bench will choose whether the act of restriction on ladies is sexual orientation biased, violates their right to equality, and religious freedom.

The Supreme Court has referred to five-judge constitution bench on the women's entry in Sabarimala temple on restriction of age 10 to age 50 in the temple.

With this verdict by Supreme Court, the long sustaining protest against the entry of women tends to put an end to the practice. It said the constitution bench will also deal with the question whether this practice amounted to discrimination against the women.

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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.

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 petitioners also includes the Travancore Devasom Board that manages the temple and women's organisations, The Indian Express reported.

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Questioning the age-old custom, the Supreme Court in July had said, "A temple is a public religious place and can not refuse entry to a woman".

The Sabarimala temple restricts women aged between 10 and 50 from taking the pilgrimage to Sabarimala - which means women are banned from even making the arduous trek to the shrine. "Every right needs to be balanced but every balancing has its own limitations..."

Earlier in 2007, Kerala's Left Democratic Front (LDF) had favoured the entry of women of all age groups but, the decision was opposed by United Democratic Front (UDF).

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The temple authorities have justified the ban women wihin the 10-50 age bracket, saying it is an age-old practice founded in tradition.

SC refers Sabarimala temple's ban on women to Constitution Bench