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Women of all ages must be allowed in Sabarimala: SC orders

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Supreme Court of India has made an order that ended the ban that prevented women and girls between 10 and 50 years from entering the shrine of Sabarimala. Justice Indu Malhotta dissented.

This order was delivered by a majority of four-one judgement. The verdict was pronounced by the bench presided by CJI Dipak Misra and comprising Justices Rohinton Nariman, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra. Justice Malhotra, the fifth member of the bench, had a dissenting view. The Court heard a bunch of pleas seeking permission for women aged between 10 and 50 to enter the 800-year old Sabarimala temple in Kerala.

Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra observed that restrictions on women to enter the temple violated Constitutional principles and that women's rights cannot be subverted as they are in no way less than men. All devotees are equal and there cannot be any discrimination on the basis of gender.

Justice Indu Malhotra in her dissenting judgement said: "Notions of rationality cannot be invoked in matters of religion. What constitutes essential religious practice is for the religious community to decide, not for the court. Present judgment won't be limited to Sabarimala, it will have wide ramifications. Issues of deep religious sentiments shouldn't be ordinarily interfered into. Religious practices can't solely be tested on the basis of the right to equality. It's up to the worshippers, not the court to decide what's religion's essential practice."

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