Hearing the contentious issue relating to the ban on entry of women between 10 and 50 years of age in Kerala’s historic Sabarimala temple, the Supreme Court on Wednesday observed that a woman’s right to pray is equal to that of a man and it should not be dependent on law.
The Chief Justice of India while hearing the matter observed, “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 apex court began hearing the case on Tuesday and asked the counsel for petitioners Indian Young Lawyers’ Association and others to limit their arguments on the questions of reference made by a three-judge bench of apex court last year. The top court had last year asked a constitutional bench to examine the legality of the ban on entry of women in the age group of 10-50 at the temple.
The bench also comprising Justices R F Nariman, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra fixed the time limit for the counsel for petitioners and asked them to try to wrap up their arguments within the fixed time limit.
Meanwhile, Kerala minister K Surendran said that government is in favor of women’s entry inside the temple.
Several women activists have opposed the ban on the entry of women inside the temple. Earlier in January this year, the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB), which manages the Sabarimala Temple, had decided to make proof-of-age documents mandatory for female devotees at the shrine.