The ban on the entry of women of a particular age group cannot be a part of a temple board’s right to manage religious affairs, the Supreme Court said on Monday while hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) against the ban on entry of women of menstrual age in Kerala’s Sabarimala temple.
“Gender equality is a constitutional message and they (temple management) cannot say that this (banning women) comes under their right to manage religious affairs, a bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra said.
Senior advocate Raju Ramachandran, who is assisting the court, said the ban was derogatory towards women and detrimental to their dignity. According to senior advocate Indira Jaising, who appeared for non-governmental organisation (NGO) ‘Happy to Bleed’, constitutional principles would prevail over discriminatory customs and beliefs. She referred to several Supreme Court judgements to underscore that the ban cannot be part of the right to manage a public religious place.