Age-old Prac­tice, says Venu­gopal

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics -

New Delhi: The Supreme Court said the Con­sti­tu­tion doesn’t al­low gen­der dis­crim­i­na­tion and that it will go by con­sti­tu­tion­al­pa­ram­e­ter­swhilede­cid­ing on the cus­tom that bans women aged be­tween 10 and 50 at the Sabari­mala tem­ple in Ker­ala.

Pri­mafa­cie,any­suchrule­vi­o­lat­es­the right to equal­ity guar­an­teed to women un­der the Con­sti­tu­tion, a bench of jus­tices Di­pak Misra, Gopala Gowda and Kurian Joseph said, while hear­ing a pe­ti­tion by the In­dian Young Lawyers’ As­so­ci­a­tion de­mand­ing en­try of women to the tem­ple. Tra­di­tions and cus­tom can­not be al­lowed to trump the con­sti­tu­tional rights of women to en­ter tem­ples to wor­ship as they en­dan- ger gen­der jus­tice, the court said.

The tem­ple dis­al­lows women es­sen­tially in men­stru­at­ing age in its precincts. The Ker­ala high court had ear­lier up­held the ban. While that wasn’t ap­pealed against, the lawyers’ as­so­ci­a­tion filed a fresh plea at the top court. The tem­ple au­thor­i­ties and the state are op­pos­ing the plea.

Ap­pear­ing for the tem­ple board, se­nior ad­vo­cate KK Venu­gopal said this had been the prac­tice for sev­eral cen­turies and it wasn’t a re­cent one. Ar­gu­ing for the lawyers’ as­so­ci­a­tion, lawyer RP Gupta cited a re­cent Gu­jarat HC rul­ing over­turn­ing the Shani tem­ple ban on women.

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