The Constitution Bench with 4:1 majority removed the ban on entry of women in the Sabarimala Temple stating “Women can’t be treated as lesser or weaker”, reported SCC.
There are several temples where entry of Men is not allowed:
1- Santoshi mata temple in Jodhpur, Rajasthan
2- Savitri temple in Pushkar, Rajasthan
3- Mata temple in Muzaffarpur, Bihar
4- Kamakhya temple in Vishakhapatnam, AP
5- Salkadih temple in Chandauli, UP
Even though in Sabarimala Temple case, Justice Indu Malhotra observed, what is essential practice in a religion is for the religion to decide, it is a matter of personal faith. India is a land of diverse faiths. Constitutional morality in a pluralistic society gives freedom to practice even irrational customs. Religious practices cannot be solely tested on the bedrock of equality.
“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.”
Further she observed that, Judges cannot intervene and decide on whether a practice is violative of fundamental rights or not. Personal views of judges do not matter. A religious denomination has freedom to believe and practice even if their beliefs are illogical or irrational.
Justice Chandrachud observed that, “The ban says presence of women deviates from celibacy. This is placing the burden of a men’s celibacy on women. Stigmatises them, stereotypes them.”
With the standard of understanding of gender equality as demonstrated by the Hon'ble Supreme Court, will Men too, be allowed entry where they are not allowed?