Opinion

Sabarimala Verdict: Here’s why Justice Indu Malhotra, the only woman on bench, disagreed with today’s verdict

The case of Sabarimala case was not about equality for women, even though the self-proclaimed women activists fought to ensure that the entry will be given to women of all the ages. The constitutional bench headed by CJI Dipak Misra, in a four-one verdict, pronounced that women of all ages can henceforth enter Sabarimala temple.

Other than Chief Justice Dipak Misra, the five-judge bench had Justices Rohinton Fali Nariman, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud, and Indu Malhotra. And the only justice who opposed the entry of women into Sabarimala was justice Indu Malhotra.

She said “It is not for court to interfere in religious practices even if it appears discriminatory. Notions of rationality cannot be brought into matters of religion. An equality doctrine cannot override the fundamental right to worship under Article 25. Notions of rationality cannot be brought into matters of religion”.

“The issue in this case not limited to Sabarimala only. It will have far reaching implications for other places of worships. Ayyappa devotees do not form a separate denomination and held that they indeed form a separate denomination” she added.

But CJI Dipak Misra had said “The practice in the Sabarimala temple of not allowing women is discriminatory to the woman’s right to practice her religion. Women have fundamental rights to practice their religion. The rule that bans women is in clear violation of it. The practice of exclusion of the women of the age group 10-50 cannot be regarded as an essential religious practice”.

Justice Nariman said “To exclude women of the age group 10-50 from the temple is to deny dignity to women. To treat women as children of lesser god is to blink at the Constitution”.

Justice Chandrachud said “Religion cannot be used as cover to deny rights of worship to women and it is also against human dignity. Prohibition on women is due to non-religious reasons and it is a grim shadow of discrimination going on for centuries”.

But soon Justice Indu Malhotra was attacked by a certain lobby who tried to call her a regressive women.

Supreme Court opens doors of Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple for women!


Hansika Raj

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