New Delhi: The Supreme Court in Monday said that gender equality is a constitutional message and Sabarimala temple management cannot say that banning entry of women of a particular age group comes under their right to manage religious affairs.
A bench of Justice Dipak Misra, Justice V Gopala Gowda and Justice Kurian Joseph said that the customary practice of banning entry of women between the age group of 10 to 50 years in the Sabarimala temple in Kerala would be examined under the provisions of constitution only.
"The gender equality is a constitutional message and they (temple management) cannot say that this (banning women) comes under their right to manage religious affairs," the bench said.
Senior advocate Indira Jaising, appearing for NGO 'Happy to Bleed' which favours women's entry inside the historic shrine, said that the law is meant for removal of social ills and "constitutional principles would prevail over discriminatory customs and beliefs."
"The ban on entry of women cannot be said to b e the part of the right to manage a public religious places like a temple," she added.
The court was hearing a plea by Indian Young Lawyers Association and others questioning the ban on the entry of women in the age group of 10 to 50 years in the Sabarimala temple.