Can women enter Sabarimala? Supreme Court refers case to 5-judge constitution bench

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From: IndiaToday By: Reuters Published at: October 13, 2017
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The Supreme Court today referred the matter pertaining to the ban on the entry of women into Kerala's famous Sabrimala temple to a five-judge constitution bench.

The apex court has framed several questions, including whether the temple can restrict women's entry, which are to be confronted by the constitution bench.

The Supreme Court had in July 2016 indicated that it may refer the question - whether the constitutional right to equality of a woman could be raised to "interfere" with the religious beliefs and customs denying entry to women in Sabarimala temple - to its constitution bench.

The question was whether women's right to equality before law guaranteed under Article 14 could be invoked in the face of the freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion guaranteed under Article 25 and Freedom to manage religious affairs guaranteed under Article 26 of the constitution.

The Indian Young Lawyers Association has petitioned for the opening of the temple gates to women in the age group of 10 to 50 years, while the Travancore Davaswom Board and others have opposed the plea.

The CPM-led Left Front government in 2007 had filed an affidavit, saying that it favoured the entry of women in the temple. But this position was reversed in another affidavit filed by the Congress-led UDF government in February 2016.

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