The Supreme Court today (September 28, 2018) by 4:1 majority has allowed the entry of women into Sabarimala Temple
, the only woman judge on the Constitution Bench, Justice Indu Malhotra, however, dissented from the majority opinion.
In a dissenting judgment written by Justice Malhotra, she stated that the issues brought up during the Sabarimala Temple case will have a bearing on other places of worship as well. Justice Malhotra held that religious practices cannot be solely tested on the basis of Article 14 of the Constitution of India
“What constitutes essential religious practice is for the religious community to decide, not for the Court,” Justice Malhotra said. Further, Justice Malhotra stated that notions of rationality cannot be brought into religion and that a balance needs to be struck between religious beliefs on one hand, and the cherished principles of non-discrimination and equality laid down by Constitution on the other. The majority opinion pronounced by Chief Justice Dipak Misra
and JusticesRohinton Nariman, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud has held that Rule 3(b) of the Kerala Hindu Places of Public Worship (Authorisation of Entry) Rules, 1965,
is a clear violation of right of Hindu women to practice religion under Article 25
, and that Ayyappa devotees do not form a separate denomination. However, Justice Malhotra disagreeing with the majority said that Ayyappa devotees indeed form a separate denomination.