Kerala: Will women be allowed to enter the Sabarimala Temple in Kerala or not will now be decided by a Constitution Bench, the Supreme Court said on Friday. The apex court after hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) challenging the ban on women’s entry into the Sabarimala temple referred the matter to a 5-judge Constitution Bench.
The order was passed by a three-judge bench of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, Justices R Banumathi and Ashok Bhushan. They framed several questions to be dealt with by the Constitution Bench, including whether the temple can restrict women’s entry.
One of the questions by the apex court is also if restricting the entry of women violates their rights under the Constitution and amounted to discrimination against them.
The temple, situated in Pathanamthitta district, restricts women aged between 10 and 50 from taking the pilgrimage to Sabarimala temple. In January 2016, the court had questioned the ban, saying this cannot be done under the Constitution.
During a previous hearing related to the case, the apex court had said that the fundamental right of women to equality has to be balanced with the right of a group to profess and manage religious affairs before a decision can be taken regarding the ban on entry of women inside Kerala’s Sabarimala temple.