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Sabarimala verdict Updates: Judgment gives choice to women instead of imposing tradition, says women panel chief

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Sabarimala verdict Updates: Judgment gives choice to women instead of imposing tradition, says women panel chief
  • 14:07 (IST)

    Judgment gives choice to women instead of imposing tradition, says women panel chief

    "I welcome the decision. Now women can choose if they want to go or not. Earlier it was imposed on them in name of religion. When right to equality&religion are there, right to equality should win," Rekha Sharma, NCW Chief told ANI reacting to the Supreme Court's judgment. 

  • 13:28 (IST)

    UDF govt supported ban because religious place had unique tradition, says Kerala Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala

    Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala said that the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) had opposed the entry of women into Sabarimala when it was in power as they believed that every place of worship had its own customs and traditions that need to be protect. However, he said that the UDF would accept the verdict as everybody is obliged to abide by the court orders.

  • 13:16 (IST)

    Why did Justice Indu Malhotra give a dissenting opinion in the case?

    Justice Indu Malhotra's dissenting opinion was extensively quoted and shared across social media. While many took note of the judge's gender to single out her dissenting opinion, right-wing activists quoted it to reassert their point. As reactions continue to pour in thick and fast on internet, the Supreme Court judge did make some interesting points in her dissenting judgment. 

    • While other four judges held that followers of Lord Ayyappa don't count as a separate sect, Justice Malhotra differed and said that they made a strong case to prove they are a separate religious denomination and hence are worthy of protection under constitution. 
    • The other judges ruled that the restrictions on women were symbolic of a patriarchal mindset and discriminated against women due to biological reasons, Justice Malhotra held that religion cannot be passed through the tests of rationality. She said that an equality doctrine cannot override the fundamental right to worship under Article 25. 
    • The majority ruling held that the restriction placed on women was not an essential religious practice for the followers of Lord Ayyappa. However, Justice Malhotra ruled that it's up to the worshippers, not the court to decide what should and should not count as essential practices in a religion. She held that religious practices can't solely be tested on the basis of the right to equality and that 

  • 12:54 (IST)

    What each judge said in their separate opinion: Prominent quotes from the judgment 

    • To treat women as lesser children of God is blinking at the Constitution: Justice Chandrachud
    • Patriarchal notion cannot be allowed to trump equality in devotion: Chief Justice Dipak Misra
    • It is not for court to interfere in religious practices even if it appears discriminatory: Justice Indu Malhotra (dissenting)
    • The custom of barring women from a place of worship is violative of Article 25(1): Justice Nariman

  • 12:12 (IST)

    'SC judgment reduced Sabarimala to an ordinary temple': Women devotee of Lord Ayyappa

    #Readytowait campaign activist Smitha P Devi said that the verdict had reduced Sabarimala to an ordinary temple. “Sabarimala is not merely a temple. It is a school of advaitha founded by Lorda Ayyappa on the basis of values of brahmacharya. With the verdict, the supreme court has closed the only true advaitha school in the country. I am very sad about the judgement and I don’t know how to react to it,” she added.  

    The #Readytowait campaign was spearheaded by a section of women devotees, who opposed the petition. The campaign was launched in response to #RightToPray. The former argued that only women of a certain age are barred from entering the temple and that it is okay to wait till 50 to enter the holy shrine. They also argued that the petitioners were confusing diversity of Hinduism with discrimination.

  • Sabarimala shrine's rules place restrictions on women, not discriminatory, says Travancore Royal Family member Sasikumar Verma

    Travancore Royal Family representative Sasikumara Verma said that the court had relied heavily on the argument that there was discrimination against women in the Sabarimala temple. “This is not true. There is only a restriction on the women of certain age. This is a reasonable restriction. I hope the court will realize this and correct the decision,” he added. Verma pointed out that the bench that took the decision did not contain anybody who had a correct understanding of the shrine and its customs. The verdict would have been different if at least two of the five judges had visited Sabarimala during the season and experienced the spiritual ambience at Sabarimala.

  • Trupti Desai calls judgment historic, says will lead group of women to Sabarimala soon 

    Bhumata Brigade founder Trupti Desai, who had planned to take a group of menstruating women to shrine last year in protest against the restrictions imposed on the entry of menstruating women to the temple, has described the judgment as historic. She said she will lead a group of menstruating women to Sabarimala soon. The pilgrim season will begin on 16 November.

  • 11:54 (IST)

    Court's shouldn't interfere in religious practices: Justice Indu Malhotra 

    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. 

  • Lord Ayyappa followers explore possibility of filing review petition 

    Akhila Bharathiya Ayyappa Seva Sangham, a body of the Ayyappa devotees across the country, which opposed women’s entry into Sabarimala said that they will explore the possibility of filing a review petition against the verdict. “We will meet tomorrow and take a final decision on the next course of action,” said Sangham president Mohan K Nair. He told Firstpost that the their considered opinion on the issue was that the entry of women of the menstruating age will lead to dilution of the sanctity of the temple

  • 11:29 (IST)

    Not court's business to define essential religious practices: Justice Indu Malhotra 

    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. 

  • Sabarimala Thanthri 'disappointed' with SC ruling 

    Sabarimala Thantri, who is the supreme authority on matters related to the rites and customs in the temple, has described the Supreme Court verdict disappointing. However, he said that the temple may have to implement the verdict. He said that he will discuss the issue with the government and the Devaswom  Board.

  • Travancore Devaswom Board says will comply with SC verdict 

    A Padmakumar, president of Travancore Devaswom Board that administers the hill shrine, said they will implement the Supreme Court verdict. He told reporters at Thiruvananthapuram that the board will take steps to allow entry to women in the temple in consultations with the Thantri and Pandalam Royal Family. The board had opposed the petition in the apex court.

  • 11:10 (IST)

    Shrine's rules placed burden of man's celibacy on women, says SC

    The Supreme Court has held that women have equal rights as men and they should not be deemed inferior to men in any way. The court held that the followers of Lord Ayyappa do not constitute a separate religious denomination and hence their claims are not constitutionally valid.  

  • Women devotees of Lord Ayyappa say, won't enter temple against tradition 

    Women devotees in Kerala did not openly support the petition filed by five women lawyers from Delhi as they did not consider them devotees and their plea had not arisen from faith. Many viewed it as a publicity-oriented petition filed with the objective of ensuring that the temple loses its glory. A section of the devotees had even opposed the petition by running a campaign called #Readytowait. They argued that only women of a certain age are barred from entering the temple and that it is okay to wait till 50 to enter the holy shrine.

  • 11:00 (IST)

    Bar on entry of women between age of 10 and 50 years is not an essential part of the religion, says CJI Dipak Misra

    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 Ayyappa do not constitute of a separate religion. 

  • 10:55 (IST)

    Will file review petition if verdict goes againt us: Hindu-rights activists Rahul Easwar

    Kerala-based Hindu rights' activist Rahul Easwar has said that they are waiting for more information on the Supreme Court;s ruling. He, however, said that they still have a legal remedy left and they will certainly make use of it and file a review petition in the court. He said that since the current Chief Justice is retiring so they are hopeful that perhaps a different judge will take note of their case.   

  • 10:48 (IST)

    Supreme Court throws open doors of Kerala shrine to all women

    In a majority judgment, the Supreme Court has held that any exception placed on women because of biological differences is violative of the Constituion. In his judgment, Chief Justice Dipak Misra said that exclusionary practices cannot be justified as a right to practice religion. 

  • 10:45 (IST)

    Justice Indu Malhotra gives dissenting note in judgment 

    Chief Justice of India starts pronouncing his opinion, written for himself and Justice AM Khanwilkar.  Justice Indu Malhotra has given a dissenting note whereas Justices DY Chandrachud  and Justice Nariman have concurred with CJI. 

  • 10:41 (IST)

    CJI begins reading opinion

  • 10:40 (IST)

    Sabarimala verdict: All you need to know about 27-year-old case 

    Senior lawyer AM Singhvi, appearing for the Travancore Devaswom Board which is said to have the legal authority to manage the 800-year-old Sabarimala temple's administration, had argued that the practice was a bonafide one as it originated from the deity itself.

    Meanwhile, the women's rights groups have said that the practice of excluding women of menstrual age is violative of their constitutional right and propagates the theory that menstruating women are impure in some way. 

    Read the full article here  

  • 10:29 (IST)

    Opinion: Only women of a certain age aren't allowed inside, devotees should not question tradition

    "We need to understand what ‘practising a religion’ essentially means. This side of the argument holds that reigning deity Shri Ayyappa in Sabarimala is a naisthika Bramhachari i.e., a “celibate male deity”. It is, therefore, the desire of the deity to be spared the presence of women of a certain age group. This has nothing to do with menstrual taboos but with the nature of the deity. It should also be noted that there are four major Ayyappa temples and only in one Ayyappa temple where the deity is represented as a celibate youth that women of a certain age are disallowed from entering.

    So, as a believer, one may choose to worship a deity whose celibate nature and certain restrictions to female devotees is common knowledge. In the pantheon of Hindu deities, there is one deity like this and he has his unique rituals and principles which those who follow him, live by. One may choose to believe him yet have no faith in the essence which drives the cult around him.

    You are a devotee, but you want to alter the deity’s ‘core belief’. It begs the question: are you really a devotee if the deity and the story around him make no sense to you? 

    Read the full article here

  • 10:20 (IST)

    Judgment likely shortly

    The five judges are expected to assemble in the Chief Justice's court shortly. The judges will start pronouncing the judgment at 10.30. There are four different opinions by CJI DIpak Misra and Justices RF Nariman, DY Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra.

  • 09:40 (IST)

    Lawyers confident of SC allowing entry of women in Sabarimala

    "After reading the judges' lucid views on equality of women in the Adultery judgment, I will be very surprised if they declare that women are not equal enough to pray at Sabarimala," tweeted Supreme Court Advocate Avani Bansal.

  • 09:21 (IST)

    Recap: Sabarimala case verdict at 10.30 am

    The Supreme Court verdict will be delivered around 10.30 am. The five-judge constitutional bench hearing the matter comprises of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and comprises Justices R F Nariman, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra. The judgment will include four separate opinions given by CJI Misra, Justices Nariman, Chandrachud, and Malhotra,

  • 09:02 (IST)

    Is banning entry of women an “essential religious practice” under Article 25? SC to answer today 

    The Supreme Court in its judgment is expected to address the issue raised by the defence, and hotly contested by women's rights activists. The court is expected to give its opinion on whether or not the temple management can argue that banning the entry of women is an essential religious practice for them, and hence gets protection under Article 25 of the Constitution. 

  • 08:54 (IST)

    When Lord Ayyappa had a counsel in court: Advocate Sai Deepak turns heads in SC arguing for deity's right to celibacy 

    To the uninitiated, the Sabarimala case might appear to be a case of curious proportions. However, despite the articulate but queer set of arguments ranging between faith, legality and rhetoric, advocate Sai Deepak still managed to turn heads when he decided to argue on behalf of lord Ayyappa.  

    Arguing for the deity's rights as a juristic person, he said Sabarimala's Lord Ayyappa has rights under Articles 21, 25 and 26 of the Constitution of India, and his right to remain celibate falls under Article 25 and hence, women's entry inside the temple should continue to be restricted.

    "The fact that nobody introduced the deity's rights in court or personified the deity's right by giving it a certain flesh-and-blood character, which already exists and is recognised under law, is perhaps why I got a shot in court in terms of an audience," Deepak said.

    Deepak submitted a 50-page written submission in court, in which he cited several judgments in this context. "It is evident from the above judgments that Lord Ayyappa, too, has the character of a juristic person under the Hindu law, as recognised by this hon’ble court," the submission says. "Consequently, the deity enjoys rights as a person under article 25(1), 26 and 21. The deity as the 'Owner of His Abode' enjoys the right to privacy under Article 21. This includes the right to preserve his celibate form and... (uphold) his vow of a naisthika brahmacharya."

  • 08:39 (IST)

    Why are women not allowed in ancient Lord Ayappa temple?

    The Sabarimla temple is the shrine of Lord Ayyappa in a "naishtika brahmacharya" (perennial celibate) state. Parties supporting the practice of barring the women in 10-50 years age group from entering the temple had told the court: "It is a unique Ayyappa temple following a religious practice as protected by Article 25(1) on the strength of the religious practice based on the religious belief from time immemorial." 

    The temple follows a century-old custom of not allowing women in the menstruating age group of 10 to 50 years on the premises as the presiding deity, Lord Ayyappa, is a celibate.

  • 08:35 (IST)

    Is banning women from shrine discriminatory? Supreme Court to answer today

    The Supreme Court, in its judgment today, is expected to answer several questions raised over the course of eight-day-long hearing. One of the issues the court is expected to address is whether banning the entry of women of certain age group amounts to discrimination. 

  • 08:18 (IST)

    Kerala govt's stance changed thrice in the case: A look back

    The hearing on the challenge to the practice by the five-judge constitution bench had seen Kerala government shifting stands with the change of governments.

    Starting 2006, when the matter was first taken to court, the then LDF government had chosen not to oppose the petition and had filed an affidavit supporting the entry of women into the temple.

    Subsequently, when the case had come up for hearing in January 2016, the UDF government at the time re-considered the earlier stance and filed an affidavit changing its position on the issue and supporting the ban.

    In 2016, when the LDF again took the reins of the state, it first took the view that it will stand by the stance of the UDF government and support the ban on women. However, it later told the court that it is ready to allow women, irrespective of their age, inside the temple. 

  • 08:09 (IST)

    Judges to express four separate opinions in case

     The Supreme Court judgment on the issue relating to fundamental rights of women to pray will comprise of four seperate opinions, one each by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice RF Nariman, Justice DY Chandrachud, and Justice Indu Malhotra,

  • 08:05 (IST)

    Five-judge bench to pronounce verdict

    The Sabarimala case was in court since 2006, but the argumnts before the constitution bench started only in July this year. The case was heard by a bench presided by Chief Justice Dipak Misra and comprising Justices Rohinton Nariman, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra. 

    The Court had reserved its verdict in the matter on August 8 after hearing it for eight days.

  • 07:41 (IST)

    Supreme Court to pronounce verdict today

    The Supreme Court is likely to pronounce on Friday its verdict on the plea challenging the practice of prohibiting women in 10 to 50 age group from entering the Sabarimla temple having the deity of Lord Ayyappa in a "naishtika brahmacharya" (perennial celibate).


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

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.


Updated Date: Sep 28, 2018 14:07 PM

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