New Delhi: In a historic verdict, the Supreme Court on Friday allowed women of all age groups to enter the Sabarimala temple in Kerala. The apex court pronounced the 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.
“Devotees of Lord Ayyappa are Hindus. Don’t constitute a separate religious denomination. No physiological and biological factor can be given legitimacy if it doesn’t pass the test of conditionality. Restrictions put by Sabarimala temple cannot be held as essential religious practice,” the chief justice said, delivering the verdict.
A five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra had reserved its judgement on August 1 after hearing the matter for eight days.
The bench, which also comprised Justices R F Nariman, A M Khanwilkar, D Y 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 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 July 18 told the Supreme Court that it now favoured their entry.
The apex court had on October 13 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.