sabrimala temple
Devotees inside the Sabarimala Temple, Kerala. [Representational Image]Wikimedia Commons

On Friday, the Supreme Court passed a landmark judgment declaring that the doors of the Sabarimala temple were open to all. Previously, menstruating women between the ages 10 and 50 were barred from entering the temple since it was believed that they might pollute the sanctity of the shrine. 

The centuries-old tradition of banning women from the temple was challenged in a plea filed by Indian Young Lawyers Association (IYLA).

During the hearings in July and August, the Supreme Court itself remarked that the tradition was 'steeped in chauvinism and patriarchy'. 

This is one of the multiple landmark judgments the Supreme court has passed this week before Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra's retirement on October 2. 

Here are the updates:

  • The Congress party welcomed the judgment of the Supreme Court citing it as 'progressive'.
    congress sabarimala
  • Prayar Gopalakrishnan, a former chief of the Travancore Devaswom Board said that he was unhappy with the SC's verdict, reports NDTV. Gopalakrishnan is famous for saying that women will be allowed into the temple only after a machine is invented which will detect if it is 'the right time' for the woman.  
  • Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala said that the Congress government opposed women entering the temple since they did not want to oppose the rules and traditions of any place of worship. However, he said that he will abide by the new judgment since the Supreme court passed it, according to Firstpost. 
  • Maneka Gandhi welcomes the decision and says that this will make Hinduism more inclusive
    maneka gandhi ANI screenshot
    Maneka GandhiTwitter/ANI
  • Sabarimala Head Priest reaction, says he is disappointed
    The head priest of the Shrine or the Sabarimala Thantri said that he is 'disappointed with the verdict'. Similar to the president of the Travancore Devasom Board president, he said that the temple may have to implement the verdict. However, he plans on having a discussion regarding the matter with the government as well as the temple's board. 
  • A Padmakumar, president of Travancore Devaswom Board said that they will comply with the Supreme Court's ruling. He said that the temple board will take steps to allow women into the temple after consulting with the head priest and the Pandalam royal family, reports Firstpost.
    A padmakumar ANI screenshot
    Temple Devasom President A PadmakumarTwitter/ANI
  • Devotees of Lord Ayyappa are planning on filing a review plea on the judgment
     Akhila Bharatiya Ayyappa Seva Sangham, an organisation for Ayyappa devotees across the country said that the permitting in the menstruating age in the temple dilutes it sanctity, according to the Firstpost. Sangham president Mohan K Nair said, "We will meet tomorrow and take a final decision on the next course of action."
  • Justice Indu Malhotra, the only woman in the five-member judge bench dissented the ruling of the Supreme Court. She 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. India is a diverse country. Constitutional morality would allow all to practice their beliefs. The court should not interfere unless if there is any aggrieved person from that section or religion."
  • The Sabarimala temple's Devasom board has said that it must protect the customs of the temple. 
  • The Kerala government welcomes the judgment. It says that this is a 'progressive judgment'. The state government also added that it will mull over how to implement the new development. 
  • Kerala author and activist, Rahul Easwar to file a petition to review the SC's verdict on the Sabarimala case.  He said, "We are fighting to save Article 25 and also the basis of temples. If unfortunately, the verdict goes against us we have already arranged and we are thinking of giving a review petition," according to news agency ANI. 
  • Quotes by judges regarding the Sabarimala Case
    "Women are not inferior to men"
    "Biological reason can't be accepted in faith"
    "Relationship with God can't be defined by biology"
    "Patriarchal ideas cannot trump over devotion"
  • Supreme Court allows women of all age groups to enter the temple, thus ending the age-old restriction.
  • CJI says, "Women allowed to enter Sabarimala." 
  • Three judges concur with the Chief Justice when he said that historically women have been discriminated. 
  • The Chief Justice is reading out the judgment. 
  • During the hearing, the Supreme Court said 'What applies to a man, applies to a woman'. It also said that once the temple doors are open, anyone can go in. Another statement which the SC made was that "woman's right to pray was not dependent on any law but it is a Constitutional right".
  • The Kerala government has been going back and forth regarding the ban since 2006. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan himself changed his mind twice. 
  • Four judgments will be passed at 10:30 am by CJI Dipak Misra, Justice Nariman, Justice Chandrachud and Justice Malhotra. They will deliver separate speeches.  
  • Top advocates are confident that after the Supreme Court's verdict on adultery, it will lift the ban for women between the age groups 10-50 years from entering the temple. 
  • The verdict of the case will be passed taking into account the plea stating that the temple's rules Articles 14, 15 and 17. 
  • The verdict regarding the case will be out by 10:30 am. 
  • Supreme Court advocate Avani Bansal is confident that the SC would rule in favour of women being allowed to enter the temple. She tweeted, "After reading the judges' lucid views on equality of women in #Adultery judgment, I will be very surprised if they declare tomorrow that women are not equal enough to pray at #sabrimala."
  • The court reserved its judgment in August. 
  • The plea challenging the law was filed by the Indian Young Lawyers Association (IYLA).
  • In July, the Supreme Court was told by the temple board that it had no right to interfere with the temple practices. The Sabarimala Temple is managed by the Travancore Devaswom Board, which is affiliated to the Kerala government. 
  • A five-judge bench will hear the case headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra with Justices R F Nariman, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud, and Indu Malhotra. 
The famous Sabarimala temple attracts thousands of devotees each yearReuters