NEW DELHI, INDIA, November 7, 2016 (New Indian Express): In a U-turn, the Left Democratic Front (LDF) government of Kerala on Monday informed the Supreme Court that it favored the entry of women of all age groups in the historic Sabarimala temple in the state. The counsel for the state government, which had earlier supported the ban on women’s entry in the temple in its additional affidavit filed in July this year, told the apex court it will now go by its original response filed in 2007 favoring entry of women in the temple premises.
Initially, the LDF government had taken a progressive stand in 2007 by favoring women’s entry in the temple, which was overturned by the Congress-led United Democratic Front dispensation later. However, the UDF, before losing power to the LDF this year, had taken a view that it was against the entry of women of the age group of 10-to-50 years into the temple as such a practice was being followed since time immemorial.
The bench, which has now fixed the matter for hearing on February 13 next year, said the stand of the government is not the final one as it will take a decision after deliberating upon various aspects including the constitutional provisions with regard to gender equality. The apex court had observed that women are conferred rights under the Constitution and it would pass a detailed order in case the matter is referred to a five-judge constitution bench. It had remarked: “a temple is a public religious place. You cannot refuse entry to a woman who comes there … It violates the rights of women. We understand the seriousness of issue. Every right needs to be balanced but every balancing has its own limitations…”.