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Prohibited because of menstruationWomen must be allowed into Hindu temples

A major Hindu temple in India is no longer allowed to deny entry to women. That was decided by the Supreme Court of the South Asian country in New Delhi on Friday. For centuries women of the "menstrual age" of around 10 to 50 years have not been allowed to enter the Sabarimala Temple, a pilgrimage destination on a mountain in a tiger reserve in the southern Indian state of Kerala.

Principle of equality violated

This is to protect the chastity of the temple deity Ayappa. In addition, menstruating women are considered impure in Hinduism and are excluded from many temples during their period. Their traditional banishment from the Sabarimala Temple violates the principle of equality, argued the majority of the five judges. The practice does not fall under religious freedom because the Ayappa worshipers are not a denomination of their own. Hinduism encompasses many different traditions, each with their own deities.

In the last few days before Chief Judge Dipak Misra's retirement, the court passed a number of significant judgments and overturned a number of British colonial laws. Among other things, a few weeks ago it had declared a law from 1862 that made same-sex sex a criminal offense to be unconstitutional. It was only on Thursday that Misra and four of his colleagues had decided that an adultery law, two years older than that, made sexual intercourse between a man and a married woman punishable without the husband's consent, violating equality between men and women.

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