Women have constitutional right to enter Sabarimala temple: SC


File Photo Supreme Court

File Photo Supreme Court

The Kerala government, which has been changing its stand on the contentious issue of women of a particular age group entering the Sabarimala temple, on Wednesday told the Supreme Court that it now favours their entry.

The then Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) government had filed an affidavit in 2015 in the apex court supporting the entry of women of all age group inside the temple.

Later the Left Democratic Front (LDF) government, in 2017, made the U-turn opposed the entry of women.

A five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, hearing the contentious issue relating to the ban on entry of menstruating women between 10 and 50 years of age inside the temple, asked the state government about its stand.

“The state government supports the entry of women. The state is not opposing,” senior advocate Jaideep Gupta told the bench which also comprised justices R F Nariman, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra.

“You (state) are changing your stand again,” the bench said.

The state government is relying on the first affidavit and the later affidavit be kindly ignored, the lawyer said.

“You are changing with the changing times,” Justice Nariman said.

The bench then said that the “only benefit” was that it will not be required to hear the state government’s arguments opposing the plea.

The bench would now resume hearing tomorrow on the plea filed by petitioners Indian Young Lawyers Association and others.

The apex court had on October 13 last year referred the issue to a Constitution bench after framing five “significant” questions including whether the practice of banning entry of women into the temple amounted to discrimination and violated their fundamental rights under the Constitution.