Supreme Court Orders Entry of Women to Sabarimala Temple

August 19, 2006

Source: Bahrain Tribune Daily

Wire Service: IANS

On August 19, 2006 Bahrain Tribune Daily reported, "To allow women to enter or not the holy portals of the Sabarimala temple is an issue that continues to rock Kerala, and yesterday it got a fillip with the Supreme Court issuing notice to the state government seeking a direction to allow women to enter the temple against its age-old tradition. The temple, dedicated to Lord Ayyappa and located in Kerala’s Pathanamthitta district, bars entry of women between the ages 10 and 50 - or in the menstruating age. Yesterday, a three-judge bench comprising Chief Justice Y.K. Sabharwal, and judges S.H. Kapadia and C.K. Thakker issued notice to the Kerala government on a petition by Indian Young Lawyers Association and five women advocates challenging the ban. The bench also issued notice to the Travancore Devaswom Board (the custodian of the temple), the Devaswom commissioner, the chief ‘thantri’ (priest) and the district magistrate of Pathanamthitta. The petitioners said that women between the ages of 10 and 50 were being denied entry into the temple and their touching the feet of the deity was considered a desecration of the Hindu deity. They contended that discrimination in matters of entry to temples was neither a ritual nor a ceremony associated with the Hindu religion. Such discrimination was totally anti-Hindu, they said and pointed out that the religious denomination could only restrict entry into the sanctum sanctorum and could not ban the entry on the basis of sex."