Sabarimala temple case: Kerala govt to SC ‘ban on women unconstitutional’

New Delhi: The Kerala government today told the Supreme Court that the custom of barring entry of women between the age group of 10 to 50 years into the Sabarimala temple in Kerala is not permissible under the Constitution.

It said that celibate status of deity cannot be a ground for barring entry of women as it is a Hindu temple and not a temple of a particular denomination.
A five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra reserved its verdict on a batch of pleas challenging the ban on entry of females between the age group of 10 to 50 years into the 800-year-old shrine after hearing the matter for eight days.

“We will pass orders. Judgment reserved. Hearing concluded. Advocate on Record of both the sides will collect written submissions and compile it and submit before the court in seven days,” the bench also comprising justices R F Nariman, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra said.
Senior advocate Jaideep Gupta, appearing for Kerala government, said that the custom of barring women between the age group of 10 to 50 years is not permissible under the Constitution.

“Sabarimala temple cannot claim to be a distinct denomination to claim a custom which bars entry of women of 10-50 year age group to temple. It is not a temple of a particular denomination but a Hindu temple,” he said.

Gupta, referring to the arguments of the petitioners who had challenge the ban on entry of women into the temple, said that they pointed out that Kerala high court had held that it is a denominational temple.

“It is my submissions, that it is not a denominational temple and the religious rights are not protected”, he said.

Citing an example of Lord Jagannath Puri temple, Gupta said that it is also not a temple of particular denomination while on the other hand temple of Ramakrishna Paramhans is of a particular denomination as he is being worshipped by a particular sect.
He said that even Dakshineswar temple in Kolkata, where Shri Ramakrishna Paramhans himself worshipped, is not a temple of any particular denomination.

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