SC lifts ban on women entering Sabarimala

SC lifts ban on women entering Sabarimala

The plea challenging the ban was filed by petitioners Indian Young Lawyers Association and others.

The Congress party welcomed the judgment of the Supreme Court citing it as "progressive".

Alphons Kannanthanam, Union MoS for Tourism: "I can not comment on the verdict without reading the judgment first".

While women have largely been demanding the removal of the archaic rule that prohibits their entry into the temple, the Travancore Devaswom Board has said that tradition and customs can not be broken. "The restriction on women within a certain age-band, is based upon the historical origin and the beliefs and practises of the Sabarimala Temple". Disappointed with Supreme Court's verdict, Sabarimala head priest Kandararu Rajeevaru said he would accept it anyhow. Similar to the president of the Travancore Devasom Board president, he said that the temple may have to implement the verdict. She plans to visit the temple a year from now, when she returns to India.

"In these circumstances, we are clearly of the view that there is no distinctive name given to the worshippers of this particular temple;there is no common faith in the sense of a belief common to a particular religion or section thereof; or common organization of the worshippers of the Sabarimala temple so as to constitute the said temple into a religious denomination". "Let them take a decision first", he said.


The court ruled four to one in favour of making gender discrimination unlawful, with the only woman on the bench, Justice Indu Malhotra, dissenting. It is a matter of personal faith and India is a land of diverse faiths.

"It is constitutional morality that is supreme". "These are new and evolving forms of untouchability in the realm of patriarchy", she said, referring to an outlawed practice of untouchability under India's ancient caste system. There may be some hurdles, but the government will work to implement the law.

She said she had expected such a judgement and credited the country's legal system and Constitution for it.

For centuries, temples and shrines have cited tradition to keep women out and their managements, dominated mostly by patriarchal men, have used menstruation to keep female devotees away. It also said that once the temple doors are open, anyone can go in.

It is to believe that if menstruating women entered the temple then it would disrupt the celibacy of Lord Ayyapa.


The Kerala government has been going back and forth regarding the ban since 2006.

While Justices R F Nariman and D Y Chandrachud concurred with the CJI and Justice A M Khanwilkar, Justice Indu Malhotra gave a dissenting verdict. They will deliver separate speeches.

In a historic judgement, the Supreme Court on Friday lifted ban on women of all age groups from entering renowned Sabarimala temple in Kerala.

The verdict regarding the case will be out by 10:30 am.

The Judgment read keeping women out of the temple on the basis of mensuration is against their dignity and to exclude them is derogatory.


The court reserved its judgment in August.

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