Supreme Court allows entry of women in Kerala’s Sabarimala temple, Justice Indu Malhotra disagrees

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As widely expected, the Supreme Court on Friday allowed the entry of women in Kerala’s Sabrimala temple. Many had expected that after its Ayodhya verdict on Thursday, the outgoing Chief Justice Dipak Misra may attempt to become ‘ the hero’ of India’s liberals with the Sabrimala verdict.

Sabrimala temple

CJI Misra said, “Devotees of Lord Ayyappa are Hindus and they don’t constitute a separate religious denomination. No physiological and biological factor can be given legitimacy if it doesn’t pass the test of conditionality. Restrictions put by Sabarimala temple can’t be held as essential religious practice.”

Four judges agreed with the verdict but Justice Indu Malhotra disagreed with the rest of them. She was quoted by ANI, “Religious practices can’t solely be tested on the basis of the right to equality. It’s up to the worshippers, not the court to decide what’s religion’s essential practice.”

The Supreme Court bench that heard the case comprised of CJI Dipak Misra, Justices AM Khanwilkar, Rohinton Nariman, DY Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra.

She added, “Present judgement won’t be limited to Sabarimala, it will have wide ramifications. Issues of deep religious sentiments shouldn’t be ordinarily interfered into.”

CJI Misra added, “Women no way inferior to men. On one hand, women are worshipped as Goddesses, but there are restrictions on the other hand. Relationship with God can’t be defined by biological or physiological factors.”

Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) president, A Padmakuma, said that he will go for a review petition after getting support from other religious heads.

Live Updates:

  • 4 judges have the same opinion in the #Sabarimala temple case; one dissenting opinion by Justice Indu Malhotra. CJI Dipak Misra reading out the verdict- ANI
  • The practice of barring women in age group of 10-50 to go inside the temple is violative of constitutional principles: CJI Misra
  • The custom of barring women is violative of Article 25(1). Rule 3(b) of Kerala Hindu Places of Public Worship (Authorisation of Entry) Rules,1965 struck down by Justice Nariman. Justice Rohinton Nariman concurs with CJI Dipak Misra (Bar and Bench)
  • The issues raised have impact not just wrt Sabarimala but other places of worship too- Indu Malhotra
  • Religious practices cannot be solely tested on the basis of Article 14- Indu Malhotra
  • Notions of rationality cannot be brought into matters of religion- Indu Malhotra
  • Balance needs to be struck between relgious beliefs on one hand and cherished principles of non-discrimination and equality laid down by Constitution on the other- Justice Indu Malhotra.

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