New Delhi, Sept 28, 2018 : The Supreme Court on Friday opened the doors for entry of women - long prohibited - in the Sabarimala Temple in Kerala. Women between 10 and 50 years of age have so far been prohibited from entry.
Chief Justice Dipak Misra observed that subversion of women rights under the garb of physiological phenomenon cannot be allowed. "Devotees of Lord Ayyappa are Hindus, 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," he said. "The practice of barring women in age group of 10-50 to go inside the temple is violative of constitutional principles."
CJI Misra also said that the right to worship cannot be subjected to gender discrimination and that in a country where women are worshipped as goddesses, such restrictions cannot be placed.
CJI Misra also said that four of five judges were of the same opinion in the case with only one dissenting opinion, that of Justice Indu Malhotra.
Friday’s ruling would be a major shot in the arm for women activists who have been demanding that they cannot be barred from visiting the temple. Previously, the Travancore Devaswom Board has said that tradition and customs cannot be broken.