For centuries, women of menstrual age were restricted from entering the temple as its presiding deity, Lord Ayyappa, is considered to be a celibate. The court called the practice as a form of discrimination, smacking of gender bias and prejudice against a natural biological process that every woman has to go through.
Upholding the equal right to pray for women, the court said that the practice was in breach of their fundamental rights under Article 14, 15 and 21 of the Constitution.
A five-judge constitution bench headed by the Chief Justice had reserved its judgement on a bunch of petitions that challenge the ban on entry of women on August 1 after hearing the case for eight days.
Supreme Court on Friday opened the doors of Kerala’s Sabarimala temple to women of all age groups. The Constitution bench unshackled the age-old chain that stopped women between the age of 10 and 50 years from entering the temple.
Women of all ages must be allowed in Kerala’s renowned Sabarimala temple, the Supreme Court ordered today, ending ban on the entry of women between 10 and 50 years. “The practice of age restriction on women entry to Sabrimala temple can’t be treated as an essential religious practice,” said the court in a majority four-one judgement.
“Lord Ayappa is not a separate denomination,” said Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra. “Religion is for one dignity with identity. Right to practice religion available to men and women,” he asserted.
Below are top quotes of Supreme Court on this issue!
* “Lord Ayappa is not a separate denomination”
* “Religion is for one dignity with identity. Right to practice religion available to men and women,” Justice Dipak Misra asserted.
* “To treat women as lesser children of God is blinking at the Constitution”
* “Rules based on biological characteristics will not muster constitution”
* “If a Constitution has a meaning can it allow what’s derogatory to women?”
* “Social exclusion of women on mensuration is untouchability and is anathema to the Constitution”
What is the controversy about?
There are restrictions on entry of women in the age group of 10 to 50 years in the shrine because the temple says presiding deity Lord Ayyappa is ‘naishtika brahmachari’ (perennial celibate). Traditionally, women of menstruating age are not allowed on grounds of “purity”.
Devotees will have to take a 41-day fast and abstain from all worldly pleasures before trekking to the temple. Since biologically it is not possible for women, they are not allowed but activists do say it was a ploy by a patriarchal society to keep them away.
A controversy erupted when Jayamala, a Kannada actor (now a minister in the Karnataka government), claimed in 2006 that she had entered the temple and touched the idol of presiding deity. The Kerala government had ordered a probe but the case was later dropped.
Women of all ages can enter the Sabarimala temple in Kerala, the Supreme Court finally ordered today!
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Source- NDTV, , The Hindu, Internet , News18, IndianExpress, Outlook India