The Supreme Court on 12 February asked Sabarimala temple why does it discriminate between men and women when Hindu scriptures Vedas and Upanishads do not do so? The temple has six weeks to respond.
“In the Vedas, Upanishads or scriptures there is no discrimination between and men and women. This has all been planted historically, we believe,” said the court.
The court is hearing a plea challenging the ban on women between 10 and 50 years entering the Sabarimala temple in Pathanamthitta district in Kerala.
“We aren’t taking a narrow view. We want to strike a balance between equality and religious practice. The temple is a religious phenomenon and its functions come within its parameters,” said the court.
KK Venugopal, temple board lawyer, argued, the practice has been in place for 1,000 years now. The whole of Sabarimala hill is sanctified. The temple claims women who menstruate are impure and hence must not be given uncontrolled access to the shrine.
The temple board and the state government have been asked to provide details on when the discrimination began at the temple and the historical reasons.
“This discrimination will be tested on certain parameters—constitutional equality, right to custom and religious practices, parameters,” said the court .
It may be noted when temple board head Prayar Gopalakrishnan had created a row stating that women can enter the temple after a machine is created to determine who were pure and impure.