Sabari­mala en­try-ban to go to Con­sti­tu­tion bench? Or­der to­day

The New Indian Express - - TAMIL NADU/SOUTH - EX­PRESS NEWS SER­VICE @ New Delhi

THE Supreme Court is all set to pro­nounce its ver­dict on whether to re­fer the mat­ters re­lated to the ban on en­try of women aged between 10 to 50 years at Ker­ala’s Sabari­mala tem­ple to its Con­sti­tu­tion bench or not on Fri­day.

A bench headed by Jus­tice Di­pak Misra will de­liver the ver­dict af­ter re­serv­ing it in Fe­bru­ary.

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 can­not main­tain pu­rity on ac­count of men­stru­a­tion.

The court is hear­ing a plea chal­leng­ing prac­tice of ban­ning en­try of such women in the tem­ple.

Ad­vo­cate K K Venugopal, rep­re­sent­ing Tra­van­core Devas­wom Board said that the al­leged dis­crim­i­na­tion was not between men and women but between women and women. “The case is noth­ing but in­ter­pre­ta­tion of Ar­ti­cles of the Con­sti­tu­tion.”

Venugopal cited Ar­ti­cle 25 and 26 and stated that in this case, Ar­ti­cle 26 of the Con­sti­tu­tion would pre­vail over Ar­ti­cle 25.

Venogopal told the court that it was a ques­tion of re­li­gious di­ver­sity and men­tioned the name of At­tukal Bha­ga­vathy Tem­ple in Ker­ala where men are not al­lowed. He sought to em­pha­size that there was no blan­ket ban on women.

Venugopal’s sub­mis­sion was op­posed by se­nior coun­sel Indira Jais­ing who said any right of a re­li­gious de­nom­i­na­tion has to be sub­ject to right to equal­ity and Ar­ti­cle right to non-dis­crim­i­na­tion un­der Ar­ti­cle 14 and Ar­ti­cle 15 re­spec­tively.

“There is no doubt that apart from be­ing om­nipresent, the God, whether he or she, is present ev­ery­where in ev­ery item. We are not go­ing to dis­cuss about that. There is dis­tinc­tion between re­li­gion and spir­i­tu­al­ity, spir­i­tu­al­ity and phi­los­o­phy and phi­los­o­phy and re­li­gion,” the bench ob­served.

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