In this Dec. 1, 2015 file photo, Hindu worshippers queue during a pilgrimage at the Sabarimala temple in the southern Indian state of Kerala. (AP Photo/ Hareesh Kumar A S, File)

India’s top court lifts temple’s ban on women who menstruate

India’s Supreme Court lifted the temple’s ban on women of menstruating age, holding that equality is supreme irrespective of age and gender.

India’s Supreme Court on Friday lifted a temple’s ban on women of menstruating age, holding that equality is supreme irrespective of age and gender.

The historic Sabarimala temple had barred women age 10 to 50 from entering the temple, one of the largest Hindu pilgrimage centres in the world.

Some religious figures consider menstruating women to be impure. But the court ruled 4-1 the practice of excluding women cannot be regarded as an essential religious practice.

The temple argued the celibate nature of Sabarimala temple’s presiding deity Lord Ayyappa was protected by India’s Constitution.

The top court’s verdict is part a string of recent rulings that recognize more rights of women, challenging deeply conservative Indian society. On Thursday, it scrapped a law which did not allow wives to bring criminal charges against adulterous husbands.

Chief Justice Dipak Misra in part of Friday’s judgment said devotion could not be discriminatory and a patriarchal notion could not trump equality in devotion.

“Religion cannot be the cover to deny women the right to worship. To treat women as children of a lesser God is to blink at constitutional morality,” he said.

Rahul Eswaran, an attorney for the temple, said its management would seek a review of the court’s decision. It noted girls and women of other ages were allowed in the temple without restrictions.

Chhavi Methi, a women’s rights activist, hailed the court verdict, but said its acceptance by temple authorities remained to be seen.

“I am doubtful the temple authorities would take it in the right spirit. Women would accept it, but its implementation might pose a problem,” she said.

Sabarimala is surrounded by mountains and dense forests in its location at the Periyar Tiger Reserve in southern Kerala state. Up to 50 million devotees visit the temple every year.

Several temples across India have banned women, saying it is intended to preserve the purity of their shrines. The operators of a temple in Rajasthan state believe Hindu god Kartikeya curses women who enter the temple, instead of blessing them.

The country’s secular courts have been intervening recently in cases where a religion’s gender beliefs were seen as discriminatory.

In 2016, a court ordered the Maharashtra state government to ensure that no woman was denied entry to the Shani Shingapur temple in the town of Ahmednagar.

Also, the Mumbai High Court ruled that women cannot be barred from the inner sanctum of the Haji Ali shrine, an Islamic mosque and tomb in the southern part of the city.

Related: Former B.C. gangster arrested for drug operation in India

Related: Federal leaders trade barbs about India trip at press gallery dinner

Ashok Sharma, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Lacombe Composite High School Cosmetology students hosts Hair Massacure

Fundraiser supports kids battling pediatric cancers

Lacombe Council asks for answers regarding Police Service deficit

Lacombe Police Service ran a $238,627 deficit in 2018

City of Lacombe releases 2018 Audited Financial Statements

City had an operating surplus of about $318,000

Wolf Creek Public Schools board meeting – April 18th, 2019

Board approves international field trip; deliberates budget; discusses dangers of vaping

Lacombe Generals honoured by City for winning Allan Cup

2019 Allan Cup champs celebrated after successfully hosting tournament

VIDEO: Police dog in Oregon struck by 200 porcupine quills during pursuit

The German shepherd had to be sedated and was in treatment for more than two hours

Calgary woman killed in B.C. highway crash

Crash closed highway for hours

Assessment says Alberta woman facing animal abuse charges fit to stand trial

April Dawn Irving, 59, is charged with 13 counts of cruelty to animals

Canadian privacy watchdogs find major shortcomings in Facebook probe

The probe followed reports that Facebook had let an outside organization use an app to access users’ personal info

Provinces, Ottawa talk 50/50 split on abandoned bus-route service

B.C. has paid $2 million on a bus service for the northern part of the province

Wilson-Raybould: Feds want to just ‘manage the problem’ of Indigenous Peoples

Former federal justice minister speaks at First Nations Justice Council meeting in B.C.

Oil and gas company confirms death of one of its employees in Yoho avalanche

Dana Coffield died when he was skiing in the Rocky Mountains

Cenovus CEO estimates production curtailments will deliver billions to taxpayers

The curtailment program started Jan. 1 was designed to keep 325,000 barrels per day off the market

Robbery in Leduc County estimated at $40,000

Leduc RCMP investigate break and enter and theft of firearms

Most Read