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Does constitution allow barring women to enter Sabrimala, asks SC

Mon, Apr 11, 2016, 11:14 PM
New Delhi, April 11: Days after women winning right to enter the Shani temple in Maharashtra, the Supreme Court on Monday asked what right the Sabrimala temple trust had to forbid women from entering the Kerala temple and if this bar was constitutionally permissible.

"What right do they (Sabrimala temple trust) have to forbid the women not to enter any part of the temple," asked a bench of Justice Dipak Misra, Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose and Justice N.V.Ramana. "You tell us if this prohibition is constitutionally permissible."

As senior counsel K. Prasaran, appearing for one of the parties to the litigation, said that "religion is not rationalised, it has to be accepted", the bench retorted: "We will go by rational dimension that is the constitution."

In another observation, the court said, "You have sculpted God in an idol" and can you say who can come to worship it.

Telling that "gender discrimination in such matter was unacceptable", the court said that even if the majoritarian view of 30 lakh people was on one side, it will examine the constitutional validity of the issue.

In a number of posers to senior counsel appearing for the Sabrimala Trust, the Devaswom Board and others defending the tradition of not permitting the women between the age group of 10 to 50 years into the temple, the court asked if temple trust could prohibit the women from climbing Mount Everest.

The court posers came in the course of the hearing of a plea by Indian Young Lawyers Association and others questioning the ban on the entry of women in the age group of 10-50 into the temple.

Appearing for the Devaswom Board that manages the Sabrimala temple, senior counsel K.K.Venugopal said: "You can't look at the issue from the angle of worshipers alone. It has to be seen from the point of the God being worshiped."

He said that the deity in the Sabrimala temple was in a state of celibacy and no women of this age group can be permitted inside the temple as the deity was in a particular state where women are not permitted to come before it.

The court will continue with the hearing on April 13.
Agency: IANS
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