Published: Sat, September 29, 2018
World Media | By Shelia Harmon

Indian supreme court upholds women's right to enter Kerala temple

Indian supreme court upholds women's right to enter Kerala temple

In the Supreme Court's judgment allowing the entry of women of all ages into the Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala, Justice Indu Malhotra hit the nail on the head when she noted in her dissenting verdict: "Notions of rationality can not be invoked in matters of religion by courts".

The Sena has called for a 12-hour strike in the state on Monday, ANI reported.

Sabarimala, the popular hill shrine located in the Periyar Tiger Reserve in Pathanamthitta district, is visited by hundreds of thousands of pilgrims during the 41-day Mandala Kalam, which begins on the first day of the Malayalam month of Vrishchikam.

The temple's authorities said they will appeal before the temple opens to worshippers again on 16 October.

"Historically women have been treated with inequality", said Dipak Misra, India's chief justice, in one of his final judgments before he steps down next week.

Supreme Court will give another verdict today on Sabarimala temple case. They added that it was prejudiced against women and their right to worship. Finally, the notifications issued by the Devaswom Board prohibiting the entry of women between the ages of 10 and 50, are held unconstitutional.

The former Board president Prayar Gopalakrishnan accused the Left Democratic Front government of having abetted the destruction of the basic tenets and traditions of Sabarimala pilgrimage by favouring the entry for all women to the temple.

India's top court on Friday revoked a ban on women entering a famous Hindu temple following a decades-long legal battle, ruling that patriarchy can not be allowed to trump faith.

Justice Indu Malhotra said the present judgement would have wider ramifications and is not limited to Sabarimala.

The five-judge constitutional bench, headed by CJI Dipak Misra, comprised Justices RF Nariman, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra.

In two straight verdicts delivered one after the other, we have covered a lot of lost ground in terms of gender justice.

India's Supreme Court often makes decisions that its politicians and bureaucrats won't. "To treat women as children of a lesser God is to blink at constitutional morality", he said.

The top court's verdict is part a string of recent rulings that recognize more rights of women, challenging deeply conservative Indian society.

In a separate judgement, Justice Chandrachud said that religion can not be used as a cover to deny rights of worship to women and it is against human dignity.

Justice Malhotra said, "What constitutes essential religious practice is for the religious community to decide not the court".

"The law and the society are bestowed with the Herculean task to act as levellers", Justice Misra's judgment said.

Padmakumar said the board will take steps to provide necessary facilities to women devotees after consulting the state government. He noted that the prohibition of women is not due to religious reasons but due to non-religious reasons and it is a grim shadow of discrimination going on for centuries.

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