Women of all ages must be allowed in Kerala’s renowned Sabarimala temple, the Supreme Court ordered today, ending ban on the entry of women between 10 and 50 years. “The practice of age restriction on women entry to Sabrimala temple can’t be treated as an essential religious practice,” said the court in a majority four-one judgement.
The only woman judge on the five-judge constitution bench, Justice Indu Malhotra, has a dissenting view. Women said to be of menstrual age are restricted from entering the temple as its presiding deity, Lord Ayyappa, is considered to be a celibate.
A five-judge constitution bench headed by Justice Misra had reserved its judgement on a bunch of petitions that challenge the ban on entry of women on August 1 after hearing the case for eight days. The other judges on the bench are Justices R.F. Nariman, A.M. Khanwilkar, D.Y. Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra.