SC starts hearing arguments on reference by Sabarimala bench

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In 2018, the Supreme Court had lifted age restrictions on the entry of women to the hill shrine in Kerala.

The language of Article 25 of the Constitution is that the state cannot intervene to regulate the religious affairs of a faith but only its secular affairs, a nine-judge Supreme Court Constitution Bench remarked on Monday as it began hearing arguments on a reference made by the bench which heard the Sabarimala review petitions.

Chief Justice of India Justice S A Bobde heading the bench said that for instance, it can be said that the money offered into a hundi should not be used for terrorism or invested in casinos etc.

He added, “For instance if a law tells how to do namaste or namaz, it will amount to a direct interference in religious affairs...However, there may be rules in the interest of hygiene etc” and referred to the IPC provisions against human sacrifice. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, said the court had so far not been able to explain where religious affairs end and secular activities begin.