In­dian high court rules on tem­ple ban

Viet Nam News - - ASIA -

NEW DELHI — In­dia’s top court yes­ter­day re­voked a ban on women en­ter­ing a tem­ple fol­low­ing a 20-year le­gal bat­tle, rul­ing that pa­tri­archy can­not be al­lowed to trump faith.

The de­ci­sion is the lat­est by the Supreme Court in re­cent weeks to re­flect a more lib­eral out­look in the largely con­ser­va­tive and tra­di­tional so­ci­ety of 1.25 bil­lion peo­ple.

Women in In­dia have been in­ten­si­fy­ing cam­paigns in re­cent years to be al­lowed to en­ter Hindu tem­ples and other re­li­gious sites.

The Ayyappa tem­ple in Sabari­mala — the sub­ject of yes­ter­day’s rul­ing and con­sid­ered one of the holi­est for Hin­dus — has tra­di­tion­ally barred all women of men­stru­at­ing age, be­tween 10 and 50.

The tem­ple’s rule em­anated from the still wide­ly­held belief in In­dia that men­stru­at­ing women are im­pure. In ru­ral pock­ets of the coun­try, many women are still made to sleep and eat sep­a­rately dur­ing men­stru­a­tion.

The cus­tom in the tem­ple in the south­ern state of Ker­ala was chal­lenged by a clutch of pe­ti­tion­ers who ar­gued that women can­not be de­nied the con­sti­tu­tional right to wor­ship.

“To treat women as chil­dren of a lesser god is to blink at the con­sti­tu­tion it­self,” said Jus­tice D Y Chan­drachud, part of the five-judge bench that gave a ma­jor­ity ver­dict yes­ter­day.

Chief Jus­tice of In­dia Di­pak Misra said ban­ning the en­try of women was dis­crim­i­na­tory and vi­o­lated their rights. — AFP

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