Supreme Court lifts Sabarimala temple ban on women of menstruating age

28 September, 2018, 18:43 | Author: Trevor Moore
  • Shiv Sena Calls For Kerala Shutdown On Monday Over Sabarimala Verdict

The Court said that banning entry of women in the shrine was gender discrimination and Patriarchal notion can not be allowed to trump equality in devotion. No physiological & biological factor can be given legitimacy if it doesn't pass the test of conditionality.

Justice Rohinton F. Nariman in a separate but concurring judgment said that people of all faiths visit the temples - worshipers are not of separate denomination.

Justice Malhotra said that India has diverse religious practises and constitutional morality would allow anyone to profess and practise a religion she or he believes in and it is not for the court to interfere in such religious practises, even it may appear discriminatory.

Justice Indu Malhotra added that religious practices can't exclusively be tested on the basis of Right to Equality.

During the hearings, the Travancore Devaswom Board, which runs the over 800-year-old Lord Ayyappa temple, had told the court that the ban is not anti-women and is voluntarily accepted by them.

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

Reacting to the historic verdict by the Supreme Court, the Kerala government welcomed the verdict and further termed it a progressive one.

Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala said that the Congress government opposed women entering the temple since they did not want to oppose the rules and traditions of any place of worship.

Celibacy: "Its effect is to impose the burden of a man's celibacy on a woman and construct her as a cause for deviation from celibacy", says the judgement.

PWD Minister G Sudhakaran said the verdict protected the constitutional rights of women.

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Equality before the eyes of law: "To exclude women from worship by allowing the right to worship to men is to place women in a position of subordination".

As widely expected, the Supreme Court on Friday allowed the entry of women in Kerala's Sabrimala temple.

The Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala region of Kerala happens to be one of the most famous pilgrimage sites for Hindus in India.

The plea sought the reversal of a 1991 judgment by the Kerala High Court, which had concluded that restriction on women inside the temple was an "essential religious practice" that qualified as a custom.

"Right to worship is given to all devotees and there can be no discrimination on the basis of gender", Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra observed.

A bench headed by CJI Misra had reserved its judgement on a bunch of petitions that challenge the ban on entry of women on August 1 after hearing the case for eight days.

He said devotees of Lord Ayyappa do not constitute a separate denomination. It also stigmatises women as "lesser beings".

A decade earlier, Ms Malhotra was the second woman lawyer to be appointed as senior advocate by the Supreme Court, three decades after the first, Justice Leila Seth, was designated.

There was a change in power in May 2016 and the LDF government returned to power.

Based on the affidavit filed by the Thanthri, Justice Nariman noted that two reasons were given in support of ban of entry of women between the age of 10 and 50 - that women can not perform 41 days of vratham due to physiological factors, and presence of women will affect the celibacy of deity.

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