The Supreme Court has fiercely been on the side of gender equality lately, and hence today yet another decision regarding gender equality was made. This notable verdict the SC passed today, has allowed all the women to enter Sabarimala temple in Kerala.
Earlier, women in age group of 10-50 were strictly inhibited from entering into the Sabarimala temples, a law violating gender equality at its worst. This century old practice was finally terminated by the SC today, allowing all the devotees to worship their god without any gender bias. Anyone hindering women to enter the temple will now be considered as an illegal and unconstitutional activity. The credit to passing this verdict goes to four of the judges of a panel of five. Indu Malhotra however was the only judge giving a dissenting verdict. She didn’t agree with them and presented different opinions with her own logic and perspective regarding religious matters. All other four judges held the same opinion that all devotees are equal and there cannot be any discrimination on the basis of gender stating the previous practice as violation of constitutional principles.
Some of the opinions in the words of judges themselves: Justice Chandrachud: “Prominent quotes from the judgment To treat women as lesser children of God is blinking at the Constitution”. Chief Justice Dipak Misra: “Patriarchal notion cannot be allowed to trump equality in devotion” Justice Indu Malhotra: “It is not for court to interfere in religious practices even if it appears discriminatory”. Justice Nariman: “The custom of barring women from a place of worship is violation of Article 25(1).”
Even against the strong opposition of the #readytowait campaign held by the follower women of lord Ayyappa, the #righttopray campaign of other women has won and the SC has also said that the menstruation status of a woman cannot be used to deny a woman from entering a religious place and such practice should be considered against dignity of women. This #readytowait campaign run by the women devotees of Ayyappa argued that only women of a certain age are not allowed to the temple and that it is okay to wait till 50 to enter the holy place.
They also made an argument that the petitioners were confusing diversity of Hinduism with discrimination. According to them, Sabarimala is a school of advaitha found by Ayyappa and is solely based on the values of brahmacharya and that’s why menstruating women were not allowed. The SC however, taking a rational and just way has passed a judgement supporting gender equality third time in a row and we should definitely be proud of it.