Supreme Court Lifts Ban On Entry Of Menstruating Women In Sabarimala Temple, Twitter Reacts

I’ve always been very proud of choosing to follow my passion and being a writer. Many people wondered why I had chosen to give up a career in law to become a writer. But since I loved it so much, I didn’t care! But lately, watching the Supreme Court of India deliver one stellar judgement after another, I’ve been secretly wishing I was part of the lawyer community and could feel proud of my profession!

In another judgement worthy of breaking news and Twitter trends, a five-judge bench of the Supreme Court has struck down the ban that prevented women of menstrutating ages to enter the Sabarimala Temple in Kerala.

“Social exclusion of women on mensuration is untouchability and is anathema to the Constitution.”

The Hindu temple, dedicated to Lord Ayyappa, had prohibited entry to women devotees in the age group of 10-50. To impose this prohibition, the Travancore Devasom Board (administration of Sabarimala) took recourse to Article 26 of the Indian Constitution, which allows a religious denomination to manage its own religious affairs.

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Another provision that supported this ban was Rule 3(b) of Kerala Hindu Places of Public Worship (Authorisation of Entry) Rule, 1965, which states that women may be excluded from public places of worship if this exclusion is based on custom.

The #SabarimalaVerdict was pronounced with a 4:1 majority.

While CJI Dipak Misra, Justice AM Khanwilkar, Justice Chandrachud and Justice Nariman were in concurrence of striking down the ban, the only female judge on the bench, Justice Indu Malhotra was the lone dissent.

Some very astute points were made out by the CJI and the judges in favour of lifting the ban, chief amongst them being that it was violative of fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution.

“The practice of age restriction on women’s entry to Sabarimala Temple can’t be treated as an essential religious practice.”

CJI Misra wrote in his judgement that the devotees of Ayyappa did not constitute a religious denomination, and therefore could not take recourse to Article 26 in this case.

As for the other Rule 3(b), it was deemed to be violative of Article 25 of the Constitution in case of Hindu women.

The rule was struck down by Justice Nariman.

Yet again, Justice Chandrachud managed to make an impressive point that had social media applauding.

Justice Indu Malhotra, the lone dissent on the verdict, also had some sharp and logical points to make for why the Supreme Court should not be interfering with religious customs.

Just as there was a marginal dissent in the Sabarimala verdict, so was on in Twitter’s reaction to it.

While the verdict was well-received by some, who called it another addition to Supreme Court’s impressive streak of judgements to usher in a new India, there were those who believe the judgement opens up a Pandora’s box of issues for other religions.

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Barkha Dutt’s got a crush on the SC!

Can Supreme Court please rule?

Striking down pillars of patriarchy like!

A new India!

Many people were surprised why the lone female judge on the bench would be in dissent over lifting a ban on women from entering the temple.

However, there were those who pointed out that Justice Indu Malhotra’s logical argument was indeed commendable.

Justice Indu Malhotra’s dissent is based on her argument that the devotees of Ayyappa are religious denominations. Therefore, an SC verdict that interferes with their customs might have serious implications on other religious denominations too.

She gave a fair warning alright!

A true sense of secularism in the voice of dissent.

Despite the lifting of the ban, there are many women who will still wish to wait to enter the temple, and some of them have even tweeted that they choose to carry on that custom.

One can only hope that whatever they wish to do, they’ve got the freedom to practice it.

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