Women entry not limited to Sabarimala, includes other faiths: SC

The Supreme Court on Thursday said that the entry of women into places of worship is not just limited to the Sabarimala temple but also includes issues like allowing Muslim and Parsi women to enter religious practice.

Reading out the judgement, Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi stated that issues such as Muslim women’s entry into mosques, right of Parsi women who married outside the community to access towers of silence etc, have been referred to a larger bench.

A Constitution Bench led by CJI Ranjan Gogoi referred to a larger constitution bench a batch of review petitions against its September 2018 verdict allowing entry of women of all age groups into the Sabarimala temple.

The split 3:2 verdict saw Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman and Justice DY Chandrachud dissenting.

The bench passed the order on a clutch of petitions seeking reconsideration of its September 2018 judgement that lifted the bar on menstruating women from worshipping in the Sabarimala temple in Kerala.

The apex court in a landmark 4:1 ruling had set aside decades-old restrictions on the entry of women of age between 10 to 15 years inside the temple.

One of the five Judges, Justice Indu Malhotra had, however, dissented and ruled that judges should not impose their personal views.

The verdict had sparked a series of protests across the state. This lead to the filing of 65 petitions seeking review of the top court’s order. The petitions challenged the authority of the court to intervene in a belief of the people.

It argued that the Sabarimala deity is a “Brahmachari” (celibate) and “centuries-old beliefs” should not be disturbed by the entry of menstruating women worshippers.