New Delhi: Coming down heavily on the Sabarimala Trust, the Supreme Court on Wednesday said in Hindu religion there is no denomination of a Hindu male or female and a Hindu is a Hindu.
While examining the plea against ban on entry of menstruating women into Kerala's Sabarimala temple, the apex court observed, "If a given denomination is allowed entry inside temple, should women be denied entry?"
While observing that “Sabarimala temple management developed a custom and tradition which is being followed to maintain purity of Lord,” the SC bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra, V Gopala Gowda and Kurian Joseph said, "The question is - can it be done on physiological phenomenon? Can it be guiding factor to deny entry of women in temple?"
"God being a brahamchari, the women between the age of 10 to 50 are not allowed, but can you deny entry of women based on traditions which are against the Constitution principle?" Justice Deepak Misra said.
Jaising, arguing for NGO Happy to Bleed, submitted that women are part of the Hindu community and hence cannot be denied the right to pray in a public temple and moreover, that right is guaranteed under Article 25 of the Constitution.
"In Hindu religion, there is no denomination of a Hindu male or female. A Hindu is a Hindu," the bench said, adding that it would not deal with the customary belief that the bar on entry of women is in place to maintain purity of Lord Ayyappa deity.
The SC on Monday had asserted that it would decide on the right of women to enter the historic Sabarimala shrine on the basis of constitutional principles and not by the prevalent customary practices.
The bench had said, "We will now only be guided by the rationale under the Constitution. The gravity of this petition is that gender justice is endangered."
Referring to the prevalent Hindu protocol, the bench said the mother has to be greeted ahead of father, 'Kul Guru' (teacher of the clan) and 'Kul Purohit' (priest of the clan) and hence, women should not be prohibited from entering the temples.
The hearing in the case would resume on April 18.
(With Agency inputs)