#BigWin: All women can enter Sabarimala Temple, says Supreme Court

#BigWin: All women can enter Sabarimala Temple, says Supreme Court

The CJI said practice of exclusion of women of 10-50 age group can not be regarded as essential religious practice and Kerala law denies rights to women on ground of physiological reasons.

"Judicial review of religious practises ought not to be undertaken, as the court can not impose its morality or rationality with respect to the form of worship of a deity".

The Supreme Court bench that heard the case comprised of CJI Dipak Misra, Justices AM Khanwilkar, Rohinton Nariman, DY Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra. "Your right as a woman to pray is equal to that of a man and is not dependent on a law to enable you to do that". Previously, menstruating women between the ages 10 and 50 were barred from entering the temple since it was believed that they might pollute the sanctity of the shrine. The case comes to notice to Supreme Court in 2006, when a group of five women challenged the rule prohibiting women from entering the Sabarimala Temple. The state of Kerala had supported the entry of women into the temple, arguing that the "custom" of excluding women violated their rights.

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 court passed four sets of separate judgements on a clutch of pleas challenging ban on the entry of women of menstrual age in Kerala's Sabrimala temple saying law and society are tasked with the task to act as levellers.

Managed by the Travancore Debaswom Board (TDB), the Sabarimala Temple is dedicated to Lord Ayyappa, who is a perpetual minor and resides here in Naishtik Bharamchari (eternal celibate) status. "Any relationship with the creator is a transcendental one, can not be circumscribed by biological factors", Justice Rohinton Nariman said.

"What constitutes essential religious practice is for the religious community to decide, not for the court. notions of rationality can not be brought into religion", said Malhotra. This is placing the burden of a men's celibacy on women.

The Kerala government, under the Left Democratic Front (LDF), had filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court in 2008, stating that imposing a restriction on entry of women was discriminatory and that it should be discontinued.

A five-judge Supreme Court bench led by CJI Dipak Misra made this verdict ending an age-old ban on the entry of women between 10 and 50 years. "When the right to equality and religion are there, right to equality should win". "What constitutes essential religious practice is for the religious community to decide, not for the court". She added that issues that involve deep religious sentiments shouldn't be ordinarily interfered. India was a land of diverse faiths.

The Judge held that there were strong, plausible reasons to show that Ayyappa devotees had attributes of a religious denomination.

He said the popular notion about morality can be offensive to dignity of others and exclusion of women because she menstruates is utterly unconstitutional.

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