Supreme Court: The 5-Judge Constitution Bench comprising of CJ Dipak Misra, Rohinton Nariman, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra JJ., resumed with the third day of the proceedings on the ‘Sabarimala Temple’ hearing.
Amicus Curiae Raju Ramachandran resumed with his arguments by referring to Constitutional assembly debates on ‘Untouchability’.
CJI Dipak Misra: Untouchability has its own connotation.
Further, the Bench did not seem to be inclined to go into the argument of untouchability.
Raju Ramachandran also submitted that the exclusion of women is based on ‘purity’.
Raju Ramachandran: Men who visit the temple have to perform a 41-day penance. As per the judgment, women cannot perform the same due to certain reasons. That reason is impurity arising out of menstrual period.
CJI stated that whatever Jaideep Gupta (appearing for the State of Kerala) submits would be treated as the final stand of Kerala Government.
Jaideep Gupta in support of State of Kerala stated that ‘restriction on women’s entry is a lifetime bar’. He also continued with his argument by stating that ‘Untouchability was practice based on caste. The further creativity of untouchability may give rise to many consequences.’
Abhishek Manu Singhvi commenced his argument for Devaswom Board.
He argued that ‘There is no gender discrimination; Sabarimala Temple is a peculiar one’.
Nariman J.: A women can also stop menstruation at 45 years of age then why should she be excluded from visiting the temple? There is no rationale at all.
Abhishek Manu Singhvi: It is physiologically impossible for women to satisfy 41 days of penance. Women can visit so many other temples of Lord Ayyapa. Why do they want to visit the Sabarimala temple?
CJI Dipak Misra answering Singhvi’s argument stated that ‘Women believe in Sabarimala Temple. It is a devotion that makes a devotee visit a temple’.
The Constitution Bench concluded today’s hearings. Put up for further hearing on 24-07-2018. [Indian Young Lawyers Association v. State of Kerala, WP (C) No. 373 of 2006, order dated 19-07-2018]