Indian court rules temple must allow all women entry

Indian court rules temple must allow all women entry

Indian court rules temple must allow all women entry

"Balance needs to be struck between religious beliefs on one hand and cherished principles of non-discrimination and equality laid down by constitution on the other".

The five-judge constitutional bench, headed by CJI Dipak Misra, comprised Justices RF Nariman, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra.

Reacting to the landmark verdict, A. Padma Kumar, Kerala Devaswom Board president said that the Board will file a review petition in the case.

He said the popular notion about morality can be offensive to dignity of others and exclusion of women because she menstruates is utterly unconstitutional.

It is the latest in a series of controversial judgments by India's Supreme Court concerning some of the most sensitive issues in Indian society.

"The practice of age restriction on women entry to Sabrimala temple can't be treated as an essential religious practice", the five judge constitution bench said in a majority four-one judgement. Courts directed authorities of the Hindu temple Shani Shingapur and the Muslim Haji Ali shrine, both in the western state of Maharashtra, to allow women inside.

Justice Malhotra also said that Lord Ayyappa devotees formed a separate religious denomination and were worthy of protection.

Top advocates are confident that after the Supreme Court's verdict on adultery, it will lift the ban for women between the age groups 10-50 years from entering the temple.

Reference was placed on decision in Durgah Committee, Ajmer v. Syed Hussain Ali, where Court had held that since persons of all religious faiths visit the Ajmer Durgah as a place of pilgrimage, it may not be easy to hold that they constitute a religious denomination.

Priti Gandhi, BJP's national in-charge of social media, said she will uphold the age-old traditional practice of not entering the temple and will even advice her daughter to follow the same. Since this matter raises far-reaching consequences relating to Articles 25 and 26 of the Constitution of India, we have found it necessary to decide this matter on merits.

In 2016, hundreds of women campaigned in Maharashtra state to successfully end a ban on women entering the Shani Shingnapur temple. Besides, the Sabarimala temple was not funded out of the Consolidated Fund.

"Question remains to be seen how it is accepted in the community and by the people at the ground level", she said. "Once you open the temple, then anyone can go to it", CJI Misra had said. "We feel that the petition will be answered positively".

Three judges concur with the Chief Justice when he said that historically women have been discriminated. CJI Dipak Mishra and Justice A M Khanwilkar gave one judgement.

"There is a reason why women are not allowed inside the temple". Another statement which the SC made was that "woman's right to pray was not dependent on any law but it is a Constitutional right". Sabarimala temple had banned the entry of women due to the nature of the deity and customs.

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