Women of all age group can enter Sabarimala: SC

Women of all age group can enter Sabarimala: SC

Kerry Wise
September 29, 2018

The five-judge bench consisted of CJI Dipak Misra, Justice DY Chandrachud, Justice Rohinton Nariman, Justice Indu Malhotra and Justice AM Khanwilkar.

However, it has been argued in other articles sympathising with Justice Malhotra's dissenting verdict that in the Sabarimala temple case, no fundamental right had been violated in the first place. It will be interesting to see how women believers react. Batting for gender equality, the Supreme Court said that the right to worship is given to all the devotees and hence there can be no discrimination based on gender. "Relationship with God can't be defined by biological or physiological factors".

The Sabarimala Ayyappa temple was one of the few temples in India that barred entry to women aged between 10 and 50.

Noting that the judgement marked the culmination of a long-drawn legal battle, Kerala Dewaswom minister Surendran said it was now for the TDB to implement it and to ensure protection of the women visiting the shrine. The right to decide how to worship lies with the temple priest or other religious scholars.

As menstruating women are restricted from offering prayers inside the temple to the presiding deity, Lord Ayyappa.

Justice Misra, who will retire on Tuesday, was heading a five-judge bench which gave a 4-1 verdict.

'We will go ahead with the fight as it (the verdict) affects the very core and belief of temple systems, ' Easwar told reporters.

The Supreme Court of India has lifted the ban on women entering Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala.

But according to authorities at the temple, banning women of child-bearing age from entering comes from a centuries-old tradition.

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'Women are no way inferior to men.

TDB president A Padmakumar also told reporters the board will implement the court's verdict. "Religious practices can not exclusively be tested on the basis of the right to equality".

Three judges concur with the Chief Justice when he said that historically women have been discriminated.

"The ban on menstruating women entering the temple was enforced under Rule 3 (b) of the Kerala Hindu Places of Public Worship (Authorisation of Entry) Rules 1965 which was framed under the Kerala Hindu Places of Public Worship (Authorisation of Entry) Act, 1965", this Firstpost article points out.

The petition assailing the above Rule and seeking the lifting of the ban on entry of women was filed by Indian Young Lawyers Association in Supreme Court more than a decade ago - in 2006.

The apex court took up the case for hearing in January 2016.

The Court had reserved its verdict in the matter on August 8 after hearing it for eight days.

Perched on a remote hilltop in Kerala, the Sabarimala temple opens for less than half the year and attracts millions of devotees.