Sabarimala verdict: Religious practices no-go area for courts, says Justice Indu Malhotra

Can women enter Sabarimala temple? SC's landmark verdict - Tamil Movie News

The apex court Bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra's 4-1 majority verdict on the entry of women in Sabarimala temple has come as a disappointment to millions of devotees of Ayyappa. They say it is essential to the rites related to Ayyappan, the temple's chief deity.

Justice Indu Malhotra, the only woman judge in the five-judges bench, gave a dissenting judgment.

"Judicial review of religious practices ought not to be undertaken, as the court can not impose its morality or rationality with respect to the form of worship of a deity. But, certainly, this is going to act toward changing the mindset of people", she said. It will have far reaching implications for other places of worships.

Shiv Sena's Kerala unit has called for a hartal on Monday over the Supreme Court verdict allowing women to enter Hindu pilgrim shrine, Sabarimala.

And, it is "irrelevant" whether the practice is rational or logical, she said.

"Special arrangements have to be worked for separate queues for women and all such issues concerning women devotees", said Mr Behra.

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Justice Malhotra said the equality doctrine enshrined under Article 14 of the Constitution does not override the fundamental right guaranteed by Article 25 to every individual to freely profess, practise and propagate their faith, in accordance with the tenets of their religion.

"Religion can not be the cover to deny women the right to worship".

Temple authorities in southern India indicated they would continue the fight to preserve traditions and could seek a review of the ruling ahead of its opening in mid-October. There are many other temples of Ayyappa in Kerala and in other States where women are allowed to worship him on a daily basis without any restriction.

But women belonging to Bharat Hindu Munnani offered prayers in temples of Tamil Nadu by holding lamps and seemed to oppose the latest verdict by the Supreme Court. Justice Chandrachud held that exclusion of women is violative of right to liberty, dignity and equality and said nanning women of a particular age group is not essential practice of religion. She said equality doctrine can not override fundamental right to worship under Article 25.

Justice Malhotra said notions of rationality can not be brought into matters of religion and India has diverse religious practices and constitutional morality would allow anyone to profess a religion they believe.

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