Sabarimala Verdict: Only one judge got it right – EWD

Indu Malhotra

The Indian Express“Issues of deep religious sentiments should not ordinarily be interfered by the court. The Sabarimala shrine and the deity is protected by Article 25 of the Constitution of India and the religious practices cannot be solely tested on the basis of Article 14.” – Justice Indu Malhotra

The Supreme Court Friday allowed women of all ages in the Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala in Kerala. The five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, in a 4:1 verdict, said banning the entry of women in Sabarimala temple is gender discrimination and the practice violates the rights of Hindu women.

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.

Justice Malhotra, the only woman on the bench, said that the petition does not deserve to be entertained. She was of the view that it is not for courts to determine which religious practices are to be struck down except in issues of social evil like sati.

Adding that the issue is critical to various religions, she said, “Issues of deep religious sentiments should not ordinarily be interfered by the court. The Sabarimala shrine and the deity is protected by Article 25 of the Constitution of India and the religious practices cannot be solely tested on the basis of Article 14.”

“Notions of rationality cannot be invoked in matters of religion,” said Justice Malhotra, adding: “What constitutes essential religious practice is for the religious community to decide, not for the court. India is a diverse country. Constitutional morality would allow all to practise their beliefs. The court should not interfere unless if there is any aggrieved person from that section or religion.”

“Present judgment won’t be limited to Sabarimala, it will have wide ramifications. Issues of deep religious sentiments shouldn’t be ordinarily interfered into,” said Justice Malhotra further.

She also said that “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.” –  Express Web Desk, 28 September 2018

Women yatris returning from Sabarimala.


4 Responses

  1. Whether the SC was engaging in judicial over reach or not can be debated. However, discriminating against women in temples is Shastra not the Veda.


  2. Are Muslim men and women allowed to on the same side in a mosque
    After Partition , Muslims got Pakistan and India was declared a “secular” country. These judges are giving a “secular” judgemant. Some might say these judges are trained in Pakistan or Italy !


  3. Markandey Katju

    Judge Markandey Katju Slams Sabarimala Verdict, Accuses Judiciary Of ‘Over-Activism’ – Swarajya Staff – Swarajya – 28 September 2018

    Former judge of the Supreme Court of India, Justice Markandey Katju, has slammed the verdict of the Supreme Court in the Sabarimala temple entry issue where women have been allowed entry into the hill temple and the decriminalisation of adultery.

    In a strongly worded tweet, Justice Katju expressed his support to the dissent of Justice Indu Malhotra by observing that “ Justice Indu Malhotra’s judgment is correct,& majority is wrong. With this judgment & s.497 one, SC has embarked on a perilous unpredictable path of over activism like US SC in the 1930s utterly lacking in self-restraint, heading for we know not where”.

    Markandey Katju Tweet

    While Justice Katju expressed his support in respect of the Apex Court decriminalising consensual sex between same-sex couples, he noted that in decriminalising adultery the top court had ignored the social realities in India and proceeded on “its own subjective, abstract and theoretical notions of freedom, equality, dignity, etc”.

    In a stinging criticism of the Apex Court, Justice Katju further observed that “ instead of observing the self-restraint, expected of a superior court, it has embarked on a highly perilous and unpredictable path of judicial activism, which can only raise a host of insuperable problems in future”.


  4. Article 14/15 { Equality before law – The State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India – Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth}

    The place of worship (special provisions) bill 1991 – This act details what are all the places of worship:-Temple, Mosque, Church, Gurdhuwar, Matts and the similar places of worship. The convention that they were following until 1947, their religious practices, sampradaya, worship places should never be transferred to someone else under this provisions.

    Section4 – Declaration as to the religious character of certain places of worship and bar of jurisdiction of Courts, etc    

    4.1 It is hereby declared that the religious, character of a place of worship existing on the 15th day of August, 1947 shall continue to be the same as it existed on that day.

    Secularism has got one and only definition ‘ separation of State from Religion ‘ here itself the descrmation started, when are we going to correct this ?

    Discrimination apply to Hindus only.
    like controlling Hindu Temples.

    & not touching minority religious places, discrimination of dividing minority on the basis of religion, ( a fraud continuing since 1992). Macaulay mind set from Historian to politicians and now extended to judiciary. Adharmic verdict ? Did the petitioners are true Hindus or converts with Hindu name ? This double cross is going on in India ever since the reservation was introduced to avail the reservation benefit of Hindus and are come up to judged level. If they are not Hindus., why court did not asked about their locus standi . In recent time why the SC is taking worthless cases like homosexuality, living together separately, poking nose in a religious practice conducted exclusively in one Temple etc,. When lacs & lacs of important cases pending for decades like Ram Temple case. Did the SC judges have the guts to give ruling to allow women in mosque .?

    Hats off to justice Indu Malhotra. & shame on other judges


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