The Supreme Court on Monday questioned the age-old ban on entry of women of menstrual age group in Sabarimala temple, saying it was a public temple and everyone needed to have “the right to access”. At best, there can be religious restrictions and not a general restriction, the bench said.
“It is our view that the temple cannot prohibit entry except on the basis of religion. Unless you have a constitutional right, you cannot prohibit entry,” a bench led by Justice Dipak Misra said as it asked the Kerala government and the temple administration to justify the ban on the principles of constitutionality.
During the brief hearing, the bench asked the government whether it was sure that no woman have entered the temple premises in the last 1,500 years.
Senior advocate K K Venugopal, appearing for the Kerala government, said that the women who have not attained menopause cannot “preserve the purity” during the 41-day journey to the temple, which is located on a hilltop.
The bench was hearing a PIL, filed by the Young Lawyers Association, seeking entry for all women and girls in the temple which, as a practice, does not allow girls who have attained puberty to enter the premises. However, women, who have reached menopause, are allowed.
The case will come for a detailed hearing on February 8.