The Supreme Court on Monday asked why aren't women allowed to enter Lord Ayyappa Temple in Sabarimala.
While hearing a petition filed by the Indian Young Lawyers Association, the apex court said women cannot be denied entry into the temple as long as the Indian Constitution permits it.
According to media reports, the court asked the Kerala government to submit an affidavit on granting permission to women between the ages of 10 to 50 to enter the temple. The Supreme Court also asked the Travancore Devaswom Board, which manages the Sabarimala temple, to clarify its stand on the issue.
The court questioned if the entry of women to the pilgrimage centre be regulated on the basis of any criteria other than that of religion?
Pointing out that for years women weren't granted permission to enter the temple, the state government said it has no interest in interfering with the age-old tradition.
Observing that there are differences between religion and temple, the court asked if there is any evidence to prove that women were not allowed in the temple 1,500 years ago. The SC also wondered if not permitting women in the temple does not amount to discrimination on the basis of gender.
The case will come up for hearing again later.