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In hearing the Sabarimala temple case where women between certain ages aren’t allowed to enter, the Supreme Court constitution bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices Rohinton Fali Nariman, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra on Wednesday (July 25) basically constrained itself to the argument of constitutional details where women’s freedom of conscience was emphasized.

Senior advocate Parasaran, for Nair Service Society, began his submissions, saying Kerala is a highly educated state. Then he said that the word religion has not been defined in constitution.

Justice Chandrachud said: “The rule excluding women which you’re referring to, does not fall under article 25 (2) (b). The power is with the state and has conferred upon the authority to throw open religious place in order to restore secularism.”

Justice Nariman asked: “As per your submission do you mean Article 25 (2) (b) is tied to the core of Article 17? Firstly the state under social reform and welfare can throw open the religious place to women of all age group and secondly even if the state does not do it, the women are entitled under article 25 (1) which states all persons are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right freely to profess, practise and propagate religion, expressed.”

Arguments will continue.

—India Legal Bureau

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