Appearing before a five-judge Constitution Bench led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, senior advocate Jaideep Gupta, for the Kerala government, submitted that pilgrims to Sabarimala cannot claim to be a separate or distinct sect or religious denomination. The customs of the temple were subject to Constitutional principles and the bar on entry of women aged between 10 and 51 was a violation of their fundamental right. Mr. Gupta said customs come within the ambit of Article 13 and should not violate fundamental rights.
The Board insisted that the nature of the deity in Sabarimala is of a ‘Naishtika Brahmachari’ and it should not be disturbed.
The court had, on October 13 last year, referred the issue to a Constitution Bench after framing five “significant” questions, including whether the practice amounted to discrimination and violated women’s fundamental rights under the Constitution.