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Sabarimala Temple Now, women are also allowed to enter


NEW DELHI, 28 SEP. Women of all ages must be allowed in Kerala's renowned Sabarimala temple, the Supreme Court ordered today, ending a ban on the entry of women between 10 and 50 years.

"The practice of age restriction... can't be treated as essential religious practice," the top court said in a majority four-one judgement, adding that the custom violated the fundamental rights and constitutional guarantees of women. The only woman judge on the fivejudge constitution bench, Justice Indu Malhotra, has a dissenting view.

Here's your 10-point cheat sheet to this big story:

1. Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra said devotion cannot be subjected to discrimination and patriarchal notion cannot be allowed to trump equality in devotion.

2. For centuries, women of menstrual age were restricted from entering the Sabarimala temple as its presiding deity, Lord Ayyappa, is considered to be a celibate. A number of petitions had challenged the restrictions on the entry of women.

3. "Lord Ayappa is not a separate denomination," said Justice Misra, who retires as Chief Justice of India on October 2. "All devotees are equal and there cannot be any discrimination on the basis of gender," he asserted.

4. Delivering another in a series of landmark rulings in his last week as the country's top judge, Chief Justice Misra said: "Rules based on biological characteristics will not muster constitution."

5. Concurring with the Chief Justice, Justice DY Chandrachud said, that restricting menstruating women from entering the temple was akin to "untouchability". "Religion cannot be the cover to deny women right to worship. To treat women as children of lesser God is to blink at Constitutional morality," he said.

6. The head priest of Sabarimala, Kandaru Rajeevaru, said: "We are disappointed but accept the Supreme Court verdict on women entry."

7. During the hearings, the Travancore Devaswom Board which runs the over 800-year-old Lord Ayyappa temple, had told the court that the ban is not anti-women and is voluntarily accepted by them. But the top court underlined that all customary or religious practices such as a ban on entry of women had to conform to constitutional principles.

8. The board had also urged the top court to steer clear of sitting in judgment on sensitive religious matters.

9. The Kerala government, which has been changing its stand on the temple ban, had told the Supreme Court in July that it favoured the entry of women.

10. Yesterday, the Supreme Court had scrapped the adultery law saying it went against gender justice.



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