New Delhi: In a historic verdict, the Supreme Court on Friday lifted ban on entry of women between 10 to 50 years in the renowned Sabarimala temple in Kerala. In its 4:1 verdict, said banning entry of women to Sabarimala temple is gender discrimination and the practice violates rights of Hindu women.
The only woman judge on the five-judge constitution bench, Justice Indu Malhotra, offered a sole dissenting judgment, disagreeing with her peers.
"The practice of age restriction on women entry to Sabarimala temple can't be treated as an essential religious practice," said the apex court in a majority judgment.
Justice Indu Malhotra began her dissenting judgment stating that the issues brought up during the Sabarimala case will have a bearing on other places of worship as well.
She said issues which have deep religious connotation should not be tinkered with to maintain secular atmosphere in the country.
She went on to state that notions of rationality cannot be brought into religion and that a balance needs to be struck between religious beliefs on one hand, and the cherished principles of non-discrimination and equality laid down by Constitution on the other.
“What constitutes essential religious practice is for the religious community to decide, not for the Court”, Justice Indu Malhotra said.
She was of the view that it is not for courts to determine which religious practices are to be struck down except in issues of social evil like 'Sati'.
"An equality doctrine cannot override the fundamental right to worship under Article 25. Notions of rationality cannot be brought into matters of religion," Justice Malhotra said.
Women of menstrual age, for centuries, were restricted from entering Sabarimala temple as the presiding deity, Lord Ayyappa, is considered to be a celibate....