Women have never been permitted into the inner sanctum of the temple. So, to keep it that way and avoid discrimination charges, the temple’s trust said a few days ago that now even men wouldn’t be allowed into the temple’s inner sanctum.

Soon after scores of men forced their way into the inner sanctum of the Shani Shingnapur temple in Maharashtra on Friday, the temple trust announced it won’t stop women from entering the sanctum sanctorum to worship there.

The trust was in a bind after a Bombay high court ruling last week that said entry to temples was a fundamental right of women and it was the State’s fundamental duty to protect it.

“There is no law that prevents entry of women in any place. If you allow men then you should allow women also. If a male can go and pray before the deity then why not women? It is the state government’s duty to protect the rights of women,” Chief Justice Waghela of the Bombay High Court said.

The ruling was made by a division bench of Chief Justice Waghela and Justice MS Sonak during the hearing on a public interest litigation by senior advocate Nilima Vartak and activist Vidya Bal.