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The counsel arguing for the ban of entry of women aged 10-50 years to the Sabarimala Ayyappa temple in Keralaon Tuesday (July 31) tried to justify before the Supreme Court constitution bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices Rohinton Fali Nariman, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra by saying that it is a Tantric temple and not a Vedic temple.

The Indian Young Lawyers Association has brought this petition before the top court and the State of Kerala is defending it.

Today the counsel cited examples of various temples in Kerala which do not allow women’s entry during their menstruation period. V K Biju submitted that the ban under section 3(b) was never based on menstruation.

He also submitted that the court should think beyond the four walls of law and look into the religious aspects, or else repercussions will be harsh.

To bolster his argument the counsel said that Sabarimala was a tantric temple and not a Vedic temple. The temple has certain specific ways to offer prayers, he said.

Counsel Gopal Shankaranarayana then began his submissions by saying that rule 3(b) has six points. He said that these these have to be considered by the court before passing any judgment.

He said that the ban on women between the ages 10 and 50 is a mere restriction and not a class.

justice Nariman said: “They’re relying upon the rule and saying that it is ultra vires.”

Shankaranarayana said that the Ayyappa temple has not discriminated anyone. Just because women cannot perform the prayer during that time of the month, they’re just excluded for certain time period.

Justice Rohinton Nariman said: “This temple is not founded for the benefit of any particular denomination. It is universal in nature. People from all faiths can come.” He also asked for the clarification on whether this denomination is of all Ayyappa devotees or just Sabarimala devotees.

The counsel said it was for all Sabarimala devotees.

The matter comes up for hearing again tomorrow.

India Legal Bureau

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