"The government's stance is that there should be no gender discrimination with regards to entry in temples, and wold strongly stand with that opinion".
The management of the Sabarimala temple had told the apex court that it had banned the entry of women because they can't maintain their "pureness" on account of menstruation.
However, women aged between 10 and 50 years are restricted from taking the pilgrimage to Sabarimala temple as they can not maintain purity on account of menstruation.
A five-judge constitution bench of the Supreme Court has chose to adjudicate whether women between the ages of 10 and 50 should be denied entry into the Sabarimala Ayyappa temple in Kerala because they menstruate. In all other Ayyappa temples in Kerala, other parts of the country and overseas, women are allowed entry without any discrimination. You can not refuse entry to a woman who comes there. The temple bans the entry of women aged 10 to 50 into the temple, and the Indian Young Lawyers' Association has filed a writ petition against this practice.
The Constitution Bench will now be looking into several women rights claims regarding the matter, especially the women's fundamental right of freedom to pray at their place of choice. It said that this can not be done under the Constitution.
Surendran said the government wholeheartedly welcomed the SC decision.
The issue being discussed is whether the practice violates Art 14 and 25 of the Constitution.
Another point of contention was that Sabarimala temple does not have its separate administration but is regulated by the statutory Board constituted under Travancore-Cochin Hindu Religious Institutions Act, 1950.
In 2008, the LDF government had filed an affidavit before the apex court supporting the entry of women of all age groups to Sabarimala, which bars women of menstruating age.
He asserted in court that Sabarimala was not a separate religious denomination because there were no distinct religious practices followed in the temple and that temple was performing all pujas akin to any other practice performed in any Hindu Temple. And if they are within the authority of the Act, are they constitutional - particularly, Rule 3 (b), which talks about the entry of women and girls.