Kerala favours entry of women into Sabarimala temple

New Delhi, Nov 7 (IANS) The Kerala government on Monday informed the Supreme Court that it favours the entry of women of any age into Sabarimala temple, saying it stands by the “original affidavit” filed by the CPM-led government headed by V.S. Achuthanandan in 2007.

As the bench of Justice Dipak Misra, Justice R. Banumathi and Justice Ashok Bhushan asked senior counsel Jaideep Gupta about the stand of the Kerala government, he told the bench that the position taken in the “original affidavit will be our stand”.

The court was told this, as it is examining the customary practice of banning the entry of women between 10 and 50 years into the Sabarimala temple in Kerala in the context of the constitutional provisions.

Senior counsel Gupta told the court that the Kerala government “supports the proposition that women of any age group should be permitted to enter the Sabarimala temple.”

However, senior counsel K.K. Venugopal appearing for the Devasthanam Board of Sabarimala temple opposed the Kerala government stand contending that the state cannot change its position with the change of government.

The court, while recording the “unequivocal” position of the Kerala government and Devasthanam Board contending that the state position cannot be altered at the convenience of the party in power, said that it would decide the issue on the next date of hearing on February 20, 2017.

The court said that it is concerned whether for biological reasons can a women be prohibited from entering the Sabarimala temple. The court said this making it clear that when a private temple built on private land is thrown open to public, then it assumes public character.