Sabarimala verdict Latest updates: From reading down Section 377 that criminalised consensual gay sex in adults, to scrapping the adultery law that treated a married woman as a property of her husband, the Supreme Court has championed the tenets of gender parity in its recent judgments. All three major judgments, pronounced towards the end of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra's tenure, highlight that gender equality is one of the fundamental tenets in our Constitution.
Justice Indu Malhotra held that it is not for court to interfere in religious practices of a sect, even if it appears discriminatory in nature. Malhotra said that notions of rationality cannot be brought into matters of religion.
Kerala based Hindu rights activist Rahul Easwar has said that the Supreme Court judgment will not only hurt the religious sentiments of his followers, it will destabilise the very soul of the deity. He said that he will explore the legal recourse available and will find a review petition in Supreme Court in first week of October, after the current Chief Justice of India retires.
Religious practices can't solely be tested on the basis of the right to equality. It's up to the worshippers, not the court to decide what's religion's essential practice, Justice Indu Malhotra, the only dissenting judge in the case said.
Justice Indu Malhotra, the lone dissenting judge on the bench, said that the religious practices can't solely be tested on basis of right to equality. She held that the devotees of Lord Ayyappan made a strong case of being a separate sect within the Hindu community. Incidentally, Malhotra was the only woman member of the five-judge Constitution bench.
Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra held that a age-based restriction on entry of women cannot be justified as an essential part of the religion. The court held that the followers of Lord Ayyappan do not constitute of a separate religion.
The five-judge Constitution bench has assembled in Chief Justice of India's court and the reading of the judgment is expected to start any moment now. There are four separate opinions expressed by CJI Dipak Misra, Justices Chandrachud, Malhotra and Nariman.
The five-judge Constitution bench is expected to deliver a verdict on the constitutionality of placing restriction on women from entering the shrine of Lord Ayyappa in Kerala. The judgment is expected shortly.
Surprising many, lawyer S Deepak decided to argue on behalf of Lord Ayyappa as a juristic person. Opposing the women's rights activists claim on right to worship, Deepak argued that in Hinduism the deity was personified for its followers and hence it to had a right to remain celibate.
The Supreme Court is expected to answer five main questions raised over the course of eight-day-long hearing, primary among which is whether banning entry of women of a certain age group amounts to discrimination based on gender.
The Supreme Court is likely to pronounce on Friday its verdict on a clutch of pleas challenging the ban on entry of women between 10 and 50 years of age into the Sabarimala temple in Kerala.
Representational image. Reuters
A five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra had reserved its judgement on 1 August after hearing the matter for eight days.
The bench, which also comprised Justices RF Nariman, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra, had earlier said that the constitutional scheme prohibiting exclusion has "some value" in a "vibrant democracy".
The top court's verdict would deal with the petitions filed by petitioners Indian Young Lawyers Association and others.
The Kerala government, which has been changing its stand on the contentious issue of women of the menstrual age group entering the Sabarimala temple, had on 18 July told the Supreme Court that it now favoured their entry.
The apex court had on 13 October last year referred the issue to a constitution bench after framing five "significant" questions including whether the practice of banning entry of women into the temple amounted to discrimination and violated their fundamental rights under the Constitution.