Sabarimala Verdict: SC allows entry of all women in Kerala's Sabarimala temple

Sabarimala temple case verdict

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 temple's authorities say they will appeal the ruling.

The state committee of Shiv Sena has called for a state-wide dawn-to-dusk hartal on Monday in protest against the Supreme Court's judgement allowing all women to enter Sabarimala.

Millions of devotees visit Sabarimala every year. 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.

Conservative Hindu groups have reacted saying they will challenge the decision of the top court.

The judge further holds that Article 17 not only applies to untouchability practices in relation to lower castes, but it will also apply to the systemic humiliation, exclusion and subjugation faced by women.

Justice Indu Malhotra was the only dissenting member on the bench.

Justice Malhotra said notions of rationality can not be brought into matters of religion and India has diverse religious practices and constitutional morality would allow anyone to profess a religion they believe.

Of course, the aggrieved persons in the case were Hindu women. "God is the same for everyone, it is wrong to discriminate with someone", stated Maneka Gandhi, Union Minister for Women and Child Development on Twitter. The Sabarimala verdict will only encourage intervention by judiciary in cases where religion crosses a line and interferes with human rights.

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

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'Women are no way inferior to men.

He said the devotees of Lord Ayyappa do not constitute a separate denomination.

Today, the judges have told him that we won't be needing that scanner anymore. First off, ironically enough, the apex court's verdict removes state control from matters of religion in this particular case.

Right to worship is given to all devotees and there can not be any discrimination on the basis of gender.

But supporters of the ban argued that the practice had been in effect for centuries, and there was no need to change it now.

The LDF government, which was in power in Kerala when the petition was filed in 2006, had chosen not to oppose the petition and had filed an affidavit supporting the entry of women into the temple.

Nikita Azad, who started the campaign, told the BBC this is a historic judgement.

Board member KP Shankaradas said that he did not expect large numbers of women even in the future because menstruating women can not comply with the mandatory 41-day religious observance necessary for the pilgrimage.