A 39-year-old woman who had entered the Ayyappa shrine at Kerala's Sabarimala in defiance of religious customs and was thrown out by her in-laws for it, should be allowed to stay in her husband's home, a village court in Malappuram directed today, news agency Press Trust of India has reported.
An interim order was issued by the Gram Nyayalayas or village court on a petition filed by the woman, Kanaka Durga, under the Domestic Violence Act stating that she had the right to stay at her husband's home, the report added.
Gram Nyayalayas are presided over by a Nyayadhikari, who have the same powers of a Judicial Magistrate of First Class.
The case has been posted to March 11 for further hearing.
Kanaka Durga had filed a complaint with the District Violence Protection Officer after her in-laws locked her out of the house last month. She is currently living under police protection in a government shelter.
Kanaka Durga and another woman, 40-year-old Bindu Ammini, were the first ones of menstrual age to enter the famous hilltop shrine in decades.
After their achievement, both were forced to stay in an undisclosed location on the outskirts of Kochi under state protection for fear of reprisals from right-wing activists. However, when Kanaka Durga returned home on the morning of January 15, her mother-in-law allegedly came at her with a stick and beat her until she could barely stand.
The Supreme Court later instructed the Kerala Police to ensure that both Kanaka Durga and Bindu Ammini were provided round-the-clock security.
Sabarimala has been the subject of intense controversy since September 28 last year, when the Supreme Court junked an age-old ban on women between 10 and 50 years entering the hill shrine. While right-wing activists maintained that courts do not have jurisdiction over religious beliefs, the Kerala government vowed to uphold the verdict.