Speaking at the Young Thinkers’ Conference organised by British High Commission and the Observer Research Foundation in Mumbai, Smriti Irani said: “I believe I have right to pray, but I don’t have a right to desecrate. And that is the difference we need to recognise and respect. So the difference is, I am nobody to speak on Supreme Court verdict because I am a current serving cabinet minster. But just plain common sense… Would you take sanitary napkins soaked in menstrual blood and walk into a friend’s home? You would not. And would you think it is respectful to do the same when you walk into the house of God?”
#WATCH Union Minister Smriti Irani says," I have right to pray,but no right to desecrate. I am nobody to speak on SC verdict as I'm a serving cabinet minster. Would you take sanitary napkins seeped in menstrual blood into a friend's home? No.Why take them into house of God?" pic.twitter.com/Fj1um4HGFk
— ANI (@ANI) October 23, 2018
On September 28, a five-judge constitution bench ruled that not allowing women in their “menstruating years” into the Sabarimala is ultra vires the constitution, and all women should be allowed to enter the temple.
Following the verdict, while the Kerala government pushed forward with the Supreme Court’s verdict to lift the ban on entry of menstruating women into the Sabarimala temple, the state’s BJP unit has urged that an ordinance be passed to continue the ban.
Although responding to an audience question, she talked about her own multi-faith family and how she would not be allowed into temples with her husband and child. Irani’s remarks drew sharp criticism on Twitter.
Young Thinkers’ Conference is discussing women’s menstrual cycle and that too in such derogatory terms. I am ashamed of our women leaders.
— SB (@shraddhs) October 23, 2018
"Would you wear a sanitary pad and go to a friend's house?" asks Smriti Irani. Duh. Yes. Most women do. What about you ma'am, would you wear one and go to work, or stay home for 5 days a month? https://t.co/lUC1CXPefu
— Prasanto K Roy (@prasanto) October 23, 2018
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court on Tuesday said that it would hear on 13 November the petitions challenging its Sabarimala verdict allowing women of all age groups entry into the temple.