The Supreme Court in a 4:1 majority verdict on Friday (28 September) ruled that women of all ages should be allowed to enter the Sabarimala temple in Kerala, Live Law has reported.
The Supreme Court bench comprising of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices R F Nariman, A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud held that ‘devotion cannot be subjected to gender discrimination’.
The Chief Justice Dipak Misra observed that a devotee visits a temple based on their devotion thus those imposing the prohibition would need to prove the rationality and reasonableness of their decision.
Justice D Y Chandrachud termed the women’s exclusion from worship over psychological grounds is unconstitutional by arguing that abstinence is a state of mind.
Incidentally, the fifth member and lone woman member of the Supreme Court bench Justice Indu Malhotra dissented against the verdict.
In her dissenting opinion, Justice Malhotra observed that issues involving deep religious sentiments should not be interfered into by the courts. She also observed that the Sabarimala temple is protected via article 25 of the constitution which confers freedom to practice and propagate one’s religion.
Thus she said that courts shouldn’t interfere unless there’s a presence of an aggrieved party from that religion. She also observed that the notion of rationality should not be seen in the matters of religion.
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