Supreme Court questions the Sabarimala Temple Entry Ban for Women

    NEW DELHI (TIP): Supreme Court of India has said that the Sabarimala temple in Kerala has no “constitutional basis” to ban the entry of women.

    The Kerala government clarified that it would not interfere in the customs and traditions of Lord Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala where entry of women in the age group of 10-50 years is banned. “Government has a declared stand on matters like this. It will not interfere on issues of customs and beliefs,” Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said after a Cabinet meeting. “This is the state government stand and it will be conveyed to the Supreme Court,” Chandy added.

    “The temple cannot prohibit entry, except on the basis of religion. Unless you have a constitutional right, you cannot prohibit entry. Anyway, we will examine it on February 8,” a bench of Justices Dipak Misra and N V Ramana said.

    Hinduism regards menstruating women as unclean and many temples impose restrictions on women’s entry during the cycle.

    In November, a group of women students started a campaign to protest against the practice which led to the Supreme Court questioning the state government and Sabarimala temple officials on the ban.

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    The Sabarimala temple chief told reporters that he would allow women to enter the shrine only after a machine was invented to detect if they were “pure” – meaning that they weren’t menstruating.

    “A time will come when people will ask if all women should be disallowed from entering the temple throughout the year,” Prayar Gopalakrishnan said.

    “These days there are machines that can scan bodies and check for weapons. There will be a day when a machine is invented to scan if it is the ‘right time’ for a woman to enter the temple. When that machine is invented, we will talk about letting women inside,” he added.

    Meanwhile, the lawyers involved have started getting life threatening calls from within India and countries in the Middle East.

    Advocate Naushad Ahmed Khan, president of the Indian Young Lawyers Association that filed the PIL, and advocate Ravi Prakash Gupta, who is fighting the legal battle for the petitioners, were taken aback when they started receiving calls from cities like Chennai and Kerala apart from Kuwait, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and other countries.

    Comment by our Guest Writer Karan Beri: First the beef ban and now this!!!! – A chutzpah of epic proportions

    Prayar Gopalakrishnan’s shallow thinking provoked me to think about the direction this Hindutva ideology is taking; and I ask you what is going wrong with our country?

    Will this RSS ideology or diktat cause the ruling party going to take a deaf and dumb stand on everything which is not related to the Gandhis.

    I have no love for the Gandhis and when I voted for Modi, I said to myself – finally a man with guts is at the helm; but he has become Manmohan part 2 (no offense meant) with govt. remote controlled by RSS.

    How can a lead priest suggest that women can only enter the temple after the invention of a machine which can scan and judge the purity of women?

    Purity becomes a biological issue instead of morality, how bizarre is this logic?

    As twinkle Khanna a.k.a Mrs. Funny Bones puts it – if rules have to be followed strictly, then it should be both ways. To get to Sabarimala, men are meant to prepare themselves with 41 days of rigorous fasting and celibacy.

    So along with a machine that scans women, poet and activist Ravi Shankar rightly points out, there should also be a machine that checks if the men entering have adhered to their 41-day regime as well.

    If such a device is invented, perhaps even Mr. Gopalakrishnan and his band of merry men may then be barred entry.

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