In the Hindu religion, there is no Hindu male or female, says SC
Can a woman’s age determine her right to pray, the SC asked the Sabarimala temple board on Wednesday, saying the Hindu religion didn’t discriminate against women.
“In Hindu religion, there is no denomination of a Hindu male or female. A Hindu is a Hindu,” a special three- judge bench headed by justice Dipak Misra said, stressing on gender equality.
The court is hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) challenging the decades-old tradition of keeping women of reproductive age out of the famous the Sabarimala Ayyappa temple. One of the holiest Hindu shrines, the hilltop Kerala temple even allows in non-Hindus.
Women aged between 10 and 50 years are not allowed because the deity is a celibate (Naisthik Brahmachari), the Kerala government and the Travancore Devaswom Board that manages the temple have submitted.
The court wondered if the argument would stand constitutional test. “They [temple] have developed a custom and tradition being followed to maintain purity of the temple. But the question is whether physiological phenomenon can be a guiding factor to deny entry to a class of women within the class of females,” justice Misra said.
However, justice Kurien asked if the temple — as an institution — was entitled to protect its deity.
CONTINUED ON P12