SC refers Sabrimala case to constitutional bench

The Supreme Court has referred the case on entry of women aged 10 to 50 years to the Ayyappa temple in Sabrimala, Kerala, to a constitutional bench. The constitutional bench has been referred five questions for determination, including whether the practice of excluding the female gender from entry to the temple amounts to violative of equal protection under the Constitution, and whether such a practice can be defended as an essential religious practice under the right to freely profess, propagate and practice ones religion. Women aged 10 to 50 years have traditionally been prohibited from entering the Hindu temple, primarily because of the impurity associated with menstruating women. By making temple entry a question of constitutionally guaranteed rights, including the right against untouchability guaranteed under Article 17, the Court has recognised that the treatment of menstruating women may be akin to caste-based discrimination.

Indian Young Lawyers Association and Ors. v. State of Kerala and Ors. W.P. (C) NO. 373/2006