The Supreme Court on Friday is likely to announce its verdict on whether women can enter the Sabarimala Temple in Kerala. In February, the court had reserved an order on referring the case to a constitution bench.
The court was hearing a batch of pleas challenging the ban on the entry of women aged between 10 and 50 years into the sanctum sanctorum of the Sabarimala temple. The court asked all parties to submit legal questions, which a three-judge bench would refer to a larger Constitution bench.
The matter has been listed before Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and Justice R Banumathi and Justice Ashok Bhushan, The Indian Express reported. The petitioners in the case include women’s organisations, Ayyappa groups, State of Kerala and the Travancore Devaswom Board that manages the temple.
The Kerala temple’s rule is aimed at keeping menstruating women away from its inner sanctum, citing that the deity, Lord Ayyappa, is celibate.
In November last year, the Kerala government had said it was ready to allow women of all ages into the sanctum sanctorum of the temple. In April 2016, the court had pulled up the temple authorities about the rampant gender discrimination, and said such restrictions infringed upon an individual’s constitutional rights.
The court also questioned whether it was legal to stop people entering a temple meant for the public on the basis of their gender, age and caste. “Is there any proof that women did not enter the Sabarimala temple 1,500 years ago?” the court had asked in January 2016.