The Supreme Court on Friday paved the way for entry of women of all ages into the Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala in Kerala as it said that the repression of women under the garb of "physiological factors" cannot be legitimised.
The Chief Justice Dipak Misra-headed Constitution bench in a 4-1 verdict held that the existing ban violates rights of Hindu women. Observing that patriarchy in religion cannot "trump over" devotion, the Supreme Court bench rejected the vehement submissions of the Travancore Devaswom Board, which runs the temple, and ruled that the devotees of Lord Ayyappa are "exclusively Hindus" and do not constitute a "separate religious denomination".
Justice Indu Malhotra, the only woman judge in the five-judges bench, gave a dissenting judgment. She said, "What constitutes essential practices of religion is to be decided by worshippers and it is not for the judiciary to adjudicate.
"It is not for courts to decide if such practices should be struck down. Rationality cannot be used to judge faith. All followers must be allowed to follow their own faith as per their own beliefs in a secular polity," she said.
Here is the full text of the Supreme Court verdict:
With inputs from PTI
Updated Date: Sep 28, 2018 19:16 PM