The Supreme court on Wednesday said that a woman has a right to pray equal to that of a man on the controversial ban of entry to a woman aged between 10 years and 50 years at the Sabarimala temple in Kerala.
The constitution bench comprising of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar, Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice Indu Malhotra was hearing a plea whether prohibiting the entry of women in the temple on grounds of biological factors was discriminatory and violating the constitution.
According to a report by the TOI, “On what basis you (temple authorities) deny the entry. It is against the Constitutional mandate. Once you open it to the public, anybody can go,” the Chief Justice observed.
Prohibiting women’s entry into the temple is both “illegal” and “unconstitutional”, said Senior advocate Indira Jaising.
The temple located in Kerala prohibits entry of women who are in the age group of 10-50 years. The ban is therefore only on the women who are mensurating. The said ban has statutory backing in the form of Rule 3(b) of the Kerala Hindu Places of Public Worship (Authorisation of Entry) Rules, 1965.
Appearing for the petitioner, counsel Ravi Prakash Gupta told the court that restricting women in the temple is not the essence of their religious affairs as discrimination on the entry of women in the temple is “neither a ritual nor a ceremony associated with Hindu religion”.
According to a report by The Hindustan Times, Gupta said: “Mere sight of a woman does not affect anybody’s celibacy if one has taken an oath of it, otherwise such oath has no meaning.”
This is not only violating one’s right to religion but even one’s right to life. Not being allowed at a place of worship just because women mensurate is strange because every other person, be it a murderer, rapist or a thief is. It is high time that everybody understands that it is biological and we shouldn’t be ashamed of it. And restricting someone ’cause of mensuration which is a cycle of the body God created is not only sad but highly disappointing and wrong at the same time.
All of us are equal, we are humans and we should behave like one. Praying is something that comes from the heart, it is pure, but that doesn’t mean a mensurating woman is impure.
The court has heard arguments focusing on whether excluding women (in the age group of 10-50 years) constitutes an “essential religious practice” under Article 25, and “whether a religious institution can assert a claim in that regard under the umbrella of the right to manage its own affairs in the matters of religion?”
Amicus Raju Ramachandran argued that Article 25(2)(b) isn’t a mere enabling provision but a substantive right. He further said that dignity is an aspect of fraternity and fraternity encompasses both social and political fraternity.