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

Sabarimala verdict LIVE 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

FP Staff September 28, 2018 13:33:36 IST
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Sabarimala verdict Updates: Judgment gives choice to women instead of imposing tradition, says women panel chief

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Sept 28, 2018 - 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. 

Sept 28, 2018 - 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.

Sept 28, 2018 - 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 

Sept 28, 2018 - 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

Sept 28, 2018 - 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.

Sept 28, 2018 - 12:05 (IST)

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.

Sept 28, 2018 - 11:58 (IST)

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.

Sept 28, 2018 - 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. 

Sept 28, 2018 - 11:36 (IST)

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

Sept 28, 2018 - 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 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.

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

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:

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