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Browse Law School Education Constitutional Law Discussion on the Sabarimala Case

Charu Mathur: So Prashant, why don’t you tell our viewers how this matter reached the Supreme Court, was it directly under Article 32 or High Court was embroiled at some point of time.

Prashant Padmanabhan: Sometime in the 1990s, there was a case under Article 226 before the High Court.

Charu Mathur: Kerala High Court.

Prashant Padmanabhan: Kerala High Court. And Justice Paripoornan was the High Court Judge then, subsequently his Lordship came to the Supreme Court. But there was a judgment at that time from the Kerala High Court, banning the entry of women between the age of ten to fifty.

Charu Mathur: Ok.

Prashant Padmanabhan: That was because there was a law passed under Article 25(2). Article 25(2) of the Constitution as you know—that empowers the State from making any law to give entry to all sections of hindus in any hindu religious places.

Charu Mathur: Right.

Prashant Padmanabhan: Provided that place should be public, it should not be purely a private temple or managed by a private family or something, otherwise the State can make law. So under that provision, the Kerala government had passed—Kerala Legislative Assembly had passed a law in 1965. And under that Act there was a rule. That rule was supposed to give effect to means to give permission to all sections of hindus to enter all hindu temples. But it had a condition, Rule 32(b) which says that—by virtue of some customs if some sections of hindus are prevented from entering any place of worship then that can come to me. That is like there is some contradiction there because this law itself is passed for giving effect to the provisions under the Constitution which says that all sections of hindus should be equally entitled to go to any public place of worship. Now the rule says that let it be, but if there is a custom then you can give effect to that custom. So this law is passed to overcome custom. It was a customary practice to prevent people belonging to certain classes mainly it was backward castes who never had entry and there was Vaikom Satyagraha and some temples—temple entry proclamation was there. Those things happened because there was no entry for people belonging to certain castes.