Nation

Leaders across parties hail SC’s Sabarimala verdict

New Delhi [India], Sept 28: Hours after the Supreme
Court announced its verdict allowing entry of women of all ages into
the Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple in Kerala, politicians across party
lines welcomed the historic judgement, saying that the right to pray
should not be discriminated against them.

A five-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, in its 4:1
verdict, said banning women’s entry into the temple is gender
discrimination and violates the rights of Hindu women. The ruling
came after a petition argued that the practice violated gender
equality.

When IND SAMACHAR spoke to ministers, members of Parliament and leaders
from various political parties, they all welcomed the verdict.
Union Minister for Women and Child Development, Maneka Gandhi,
termed the judgment as wonderful. She said, “It opens up and brings
the way forward for Hinduism to become even more inclusive and not
a property of one caste or one sex. A woman is considered a ‘Devi’
(goddess), so how can you prevent Devi from entering a temple? It is
a very good judgment.”

Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Subramanian
Swamy echoed similar sentiments saying, “I fully welcome this
judgment of the Supreme Court. I have been vocal about it in the last
few months. The gender equality cannot be differentiated on the
basis of women’s physique or any other aspect. So, the court has
done the right thing. I congratulate the Supreme Court for doing
justice to the women of the country.”

Welcoming the verdict, senior Congress leader Mallikarjun
Kharge too said, “I welcome this judgment. Women everywhere
should be allowed to visit temples and should be respected. This is a
good thing.”

Congress leader Renuka Choudhary hailed the verdict saying, “We
have a right to go and worship wherever we want. I congratulate the
CJI (Dipak Misra) for taking this stand.”

Communist Party of India (CPI) Member of Parliament D
Raja asserted, “It is an important decision. The people are hailing it
as a historic judgment. It recognises the right to pray as one of the
fundamental rights of citizens. And such a right should not be
discriminated against women.”

Women of menstruating age were barred from entering the
Sabarimala temple by its officials, who had argued that the temple deity,                                                                                              Lord Ayyappa, had taken a vow of celibacy.

Allowing women of all ages to enter the holy site, the apex court said
that no physiological and biological factor can be given legitimacy if it
doesn’t pass the test of conditionality.

The top court said that devotees of Lord Ayyappa are Hindus and do
not constitute a separate religious denomination, while adding that
restrictions put by Sabarimala temple cannot be held as essential
religious practice.

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