New Delhi: Women cannot be banned from the famous Sabarimala temple in Kerala, the Supreme Court said today, though it has not delivered a verdict yet on one of the most contentious features of the famous temple, which claims that women who menstruate are impure and must not be given access to the hilltop shrine.
Women between the age of 10 and 50 are banned from entering the ancient temple dedicated to Lord Ayyappa. The rule, introduced by the powerful Travancore Devasom Board that maintains the temple, must be over-turned, a group of women lawyers have contended in their appeal to the top court.
"The temple cannot prohibit entry (women), except on the basis of religion. Unless you have a constitutional right, you cannot prohibit entry, "said the judges who heard the case today. The next date of hearing is February 8.
In November, the head of the temple's board, Prayar Gopalakrishnan, created a huge controversy by stating that women would be able to access the temple after a machine is created that would function like a body scanner to determine which women were "pure" enough to make the cut.