Chennai, Jan 21: The Madras High Court today adjourned by two months a PIL seeking to declare a rule of the state HR&CE department preventing women from entering temples during a particular period in which they are not by custom and usage allowed to do so.
"It is to be pointed out that a larger issue as regards restricting of entry of women into the temple is now under consideration of the honourable Supreme Court. Therefore, we do not propose to take any decision in this matter nor even order notice to the authorities."
"Hence, the matter is adjourned by two months," the division bench, comprising Justices T S Sivagnanam and Pushpa Sathyanarayana said when a PIL filed by one S Aarthy of Villupuram district came up before it. Submitting that she is a Hindu by religion, Aarthy said there are hundreds of temples in Tamil Nadu and the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department controls entry to them.
Rule 3 prohibits women from entering temples "at such times during which they are not, by custom and usage, allowed to enter."
Alleging discrimination between men and women, the petitioner submitted that no rules, statutory or otherwise, can prescribe any condition on women relating to a particular point of time during which they can be prohibited from entering a temple and worship.
Stating that no such time is prescribed for men, she said women should also be treated on par with men "The expression 'at such times' used in the rule is vague and not explained anywhere." The petitioner then sought a direction from the Court to declare Rule 3(C) of the Rules under Tamil Nadu Temple Entry Authorization Act 1947, unconstitutional, null and void.