Women of all age group can enter Sabarimala: SC

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She plans to visit the temple a year from now, when she returns to India.

The head of the temple had said earlier he would consider allowing women to enter if there was a machine to check if they were menstruating.

Managed by the Travancore Debaswom Board (TDB), the Sabarimala Temple is dedicated to Lord Ayyappa, who is a perpetual minor and resides here in Naishtik Bharamchari (eternal celibate) status. "Once the board takes a decision, we will take a look at it", he told reporters.

Indu Malhotra, the only woman judge on the bench, dissented with the majority verdict, saying courts must not interfere with issues concerning "deep religious sentiments".

"The Sabarimala shrine and the deity is protected by Article 25 of Constitution of India and the religious practices can not be exclusively tested on the basis of Article 14", Justice Malhotra said, adding that the issues raised in the case will also impact "several other places of worship". Since this matter raises far-reaching consequences relating to Articles 25 and 26 of the Constitution of India, we have found it necessary to decide this matter on merits. Constitutional morality would allow all to practice their beliefs.

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Jayamala, who is the minister for Women and Child Development and Empowerment in Karnataka, said she welcomed the Supreme Court's decision.

Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala said the verdict had to be implemented though different temples had their own customs and traditions. There may be some hurdles, but the government will work to implement the law.

Kerala author and activist, Rahul Easwar to file a petition to review the SC's verdict on the Sabarimala case. "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", she said.

He went on to say, "Practice of exclusion of women of 10-50 age group can not be regarded as essential religious practice". Patriarchy can not trump freedom to practice religion, it said.

Based on the affidavit filed by the Thanthri, Justice Nariman noted that two reasons were given in support of ban of entry of women between the age of 10 and 50 - that women can not perform 41 days of vratham due to physiological factors, and presence of women will affect the celibacy of deity. While Justices Chandrachud and Nariman wrote a concurring judgment. This is placing the burden of a men's celibacy on women. It also said that once the temple doors are open, anyone can go in.

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The ruling comes as the Supreme Court also ruled on Thursday that adultery is no longer a crime, declaring a colonial-era law that punished the offence with jail time unconstitutional and discriminatory against women.

The Kerala government has been going back and forth regarding the ban since 2006. CJI Dipak Mishra and Justice A M Khanwilkar gave one judgement. They will deliver separate speeches.

The Supreme Court today ruled that not allowing women in their "menstruating years" into the Sabarimala is ultra vires the constitution, and all women should be allowed to enter the temple. That was clearly because the board knew the ban wouldn't stand in front of legal questioning for it was clearly an anti-constitutional practice.

The verdict regarding the case will be out by 10:30 am.

While the Kerala government initially supported the ban, it later changed track and in 2016 it told the top court that it was ready to allow women inside the sanctum sanctorum of the temple.

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The court reserved its judgment in August. Until October 16, the Sabarimala temple is closed.

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