A petition filed by Women Integration and Growth through Sports had alleged that the notice for trekking barred women and children below 14 from climbing the hill.

Women cant be barred from trekking to Agasthyarkoodam says Kerala HC
news Law Saturday, December 01, 2018 - 08:56

The Kerala HC stated that women should not be stopped from trekking up the Agasthyarkoodam peak, following a petition challenging the same was heard at the court.

The order was issued by Justice Anu Sivaraman, based on the complaint filed by Women Integration and Growth through Sports. The court further stated that the guidelines published by the state government are to be followed by scaling the peak.

According to the petition, the notice of the Wild Life Warden inviting people to trek excluded women and children below 14 years. The notice simply stated that women and children are not allowed, according to reports.

The Agasthyarkoodam peak lies within the Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary in Thiruvananthapuram.

The peak is part of the Agasthyamala Biosphere Reserve, and women are allowed access till Athirumala, which is the base station of Agasthyamala. People are allowed to trek for a month every year, with the number of trekkers allowed per day restricted to 100. A petition challenging the ban on women was earlier submittd by women's rights group Penoruma at the high court.

A few people climb the mountain as a pilgrimage. While no formal ban exists, the tribal community living in the region opposes the entry of women in the name of tradition.

Though there have been isolated demands earlier for allowing women to scale the peak, 2017 was the first time that a consolidated demand was made.

In January 2017, after Pennoruma shed light on the unofficial ban on women’s entry and after a discussion, a group of 51 women began preparing for the journey, which was planned for February. However, tribal outfit Adivasi Mahasabha moved the court against it citing traditional rituals.

In February 2017, the High Court issued a stay. Pennoruma moved court challenging this, the judgement for which is expected on Friday.

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