ALL ABOUT EQUALITY AND RITUALS
The place of women in society is always a matter of right. Women always have to fight for their rights. The legal terms do not decide the rights of the women but by the customs. People are following some customs from history as well. One such example is of Kerela. In Kerela, at Sabarimala Temple, a ritual is being followed from age’s i.e. restrict the entry of women of the age group from 10 to 50 years to enter the temple to preserve the sanctity of the temple. The entry of women in the age group 10 to 50 prohibited as they go through the menstruation cycle. The question was on the violation of Constitutional Validity.
In 1986, an incident happened which degrade the status of the woman. Fine of Rs. 1000/- imposed on the actresses and Director of the movie named “Nambinar Keduvathillai”. Because they danced near the deity at the “pathinettam padi”. Also fine of Rs. 7,500/- imposed on the Devaswom Board, the board in charge of the maintenance of the Sabarimala Temple.
The story of arguing on the Sabarimala Temple begins in the year 1990 in the Kerala High Court by S.Mahendran. He alleged the entry of young women to the Sabarimala Temple. The Kerala High Court banned the said petition in 1991 of women between ages 10 to 50. In addition, the Government of Kerala used the police force to enforce the said order. However, the court said that prohibition is only in the respect of women of a particular age group and not women as a class.
Indian Young Lawyers Association vs. the State of Kerala
In 2006, the question again raised by 6 women, members of the Indian Young Lawyer’s Association, before the Supreme Court of India. Moreover, this petition filed against the order of Kerala High Court to ban the women between the age group of 10 to 50.
In September 2018 the Supreme Court of India ruled that women of all age groups can enter Sabarimala Temple. Two women who aged below the age of 50 walked into the Sabarimala temple in Kerala daybreak on 2nd January 2019, becoming the first to do so since the Supreme Court ordered.
Most importantly, the above verdict was passed with a majority of 4:1. The Supreme Court observed that the custom of banning women was in violation of Article 25(1) and Rule 3(b) of Kerala Hindu Places of Worship.
Even after the judgment of the Supreme Court, a total of seven Hartals were organized in Kerala by various Hindu groups. When various women between the age group of 10 to 50 tried to enter the temple, either they were stopped by the police or temple was purified using tantric rituals. The situation became so bad that police protection was provided to the women who dare to enter the temple.
The judgment was a major step taken by the Supreme Court to maintain the Constitutional validity. Also, the rituals should be followed up to that extent only which will not harm the individual right to equality and right to religion/worship.
By Muskaan Sharma,
B.Com.LLB 4th Year student of Banasthali Vidyapith, Rajasthan