Outrage as Supreme court spikes 800-yr-old advisory of Ayyappa

Terming the practice illegal and unconstitutional, a five-judge Constitution bench rejected the claim of the Travancore Devaswom Board that the exclusion of women of a particular age is essential.

Published: 19th July 2018 05:21 PM  |   Last Updated: 29th September 2018 05:36 AM   |  A+A-

Sabarimala Temple (Photo | EPS)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday lifted the centuries-old tradition of prohibiting girls and women of menstruating age (10-50 years) from entering Kerala’s Sabarimala temple.
Terming the practice illegal and unconstitutional, a five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra rejected the claim of the Travancore Devaswom Board, which runs the temple, that the exclusion of women of a particular age is an essential religious practice. 

In a majority 4:1 verdict, the CJI, who wrote for himself and Justice A M Khanwilkar, said, “Any rule based on discrimination or segregation of women pertaining to biological characteristics is not only unfounded, indefensible and implausible but can also never pass the muster of constitutionality.”
The court ruled that the devotees of Lord Ayyappa are “exclusively Hindus” and do not constitute a separate religious denomination.

The SC held that Article 25(1) would become a dead letter if women are excluded from practising their right to worship and set aside the Rule 3(b) of the Kerala Hindu Places of Public Worship (Authorisation of Entry) Rules, 1965.“Women of any age group have as much a right as men to visit and enter a temple in order to freely practise a religion as guaranteed under Article 25(1). The denial of this right to women significantly denudes them of their right to worship,” the CJI said.

Agreeing with the majority view, Justice R F Nariman said mob morality cannot impair women’s constitutional rights. 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. 

‘Fight is not over yet, will file review petition’
Expressing disappointment at the Supreme Court verdict, social activist and Ayyappa Dharma Sena president Rahul Easwar said the organisation would file a review petition against the judgment. Easwar, who belongs to the Thantri family of the temple, said, “We will definitely go ahead with the fight. Until October 16, the Sabarimala temple is closed. So, we have time.”



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    • CP Venkatesan

      One should understand that most of the women belong to Hindu religion absent themselves from performing poojas and other religious activities during mensuration periods. Also nature of women body cycle may change sometimes with their habits of food and other activities. Considering all aspects women themselves are not willing to enter religious places on their own. The women of Kerala have to decide on that. If you take other religions
      4 years ago reply
    • Varghese

      Women is not supposed to be restricted to appear for worship in any Temple
      4 years ago reply
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