New Delhi: The LDF government in Kerala has taken a U-turn on the state governments’ position on the ban on entry of women of all ages in Sabarimala temple in Kerala.
The Kerala government under Pinarayi Vijayan said told the Supreme Court on Monday that it is ready to allow women of all ages into the sanctum sanctorum of the famed temple of Lord Ayyappa in Pathanamthitta district.
“Women of all age groups should be allowed into Sabarimala temple,” the Kerala government submitted before the apex court.
The previous Congress government under Oommen Chandy was opposed to the lifting of the ban on entry of women aged between 10 and 50.
The Chandy government had told the SC that beliefs and customs of devotees cannot be changed through a judicial process and that the opinion of the priests is final in matters of religion.
In fact, the Left government under VS Achuthanandan had taken a similar stand as that adopted by the Pinarayi government, before the Chandy government changed its stand.
The Sabarimala temple administration is also opposed to the lifting of the ban and said the tradition is connected to essential religious practice.
The court has listed the matter for a detailed hearing on February 17.
Today was the first hearing after the Supreme Court changed the Bench hearing a decade-old petition against the restriction on women aged between 10 and 50 from entering the temple.
Earlier, the three-judge Bench led by Justice Dipak Misra included Justices Gopala V Gowda and Kurian Joseph, who were replaced by Justices C Nagappan and R. Banumathi on July 11.
The bench of Justice Dipak Misra had questioned the age-old tradition of banning entry of women of menstrual age group in Sabarimala temple, saying it cannot be done under the Constitution.
“The temple cannot prohibit entry (women), except on the basis of religion. Unless you have a constitutional right, you cannot prohibit entry,” the bench said.
A total of 10 Supreme Court judges, sitting in various combinations, have already heard the case in as many years since it was first filed in 2006.
Earlier, the Bombay High Court directed the Maharashtra Government to ensure that women are not denied entry at any temple.