During a hearing in the Sabarimala temple case, that contests women’s entry in the inner sanctum, Senior Advocate Indira Jaising told the Supreme Court that excluding women on the basis of Lord Ayyappa’s celibate nature amounts to stereotyping women as “seductive”, Live Law reported.

However, Justice Indu Malhotra, who is in the constitutional bench, responded by saying, “women’s exclusion is not on the basis of perception of women as seductive but on conditions of 41 days vrutham”.

Jaising contested that the practice is a form of untouchability. “Article 25(2)(b) can be appli.ed in cases of gender-based exclusions, and not restricted to caste-based exclusions,” she said

“Deity is a juristic person; cannot claim rights of a natural person,” she added while fighting for women’s entry inside the temple.

Jaising went on to submit that only a human being can claim Article 25 and not juristic persons. “Conscience doesn’t reside in institutions, but in living beings,” she said as she concluded her argument, She referred to a book by US Supreme Court judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg “My own Words” and mentioned the interaction between Justice Scalia & Justice Ginsburg on interpretation of constitutional provisions.

“Deity is a juristic person; cannot claim rights of a natural person,” – Indira Jaisingh

After Jaisingh’s arguments, Raju Ramachandran started his supplementary submissions as amicus curiae in the case. He said that the case is similar to the one contested in the Kerala High Court judgment, where a devotee had filed a petition seeking to enforce restrictions on women based on customs.

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The apex court bench, comprising CJI Dipak Misra, Justice Malhotra and DY Chandrachud, after hearing a few more arguments has reserved the judgment in the case for now.

The Sabarimala temple case came into light when the temple trustee chief belonging to Travancore Devaswom Board said that women can only enter the temple once they install a machine to check who is menstruating or not. Currently, women aged between 10 and 50 cannot visit the temple as they cannot perform the 41-days vratham to go inside the temple.

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