Sabarimala Verdict: Supreme Court To Refer The Case To A Larger Bench To Address The Greater Issue Behind It
India is a religious country, they say. And we believe it for most part. Except, what they often fail to mention is that India is also the same country that often uses the tag of religion to not unite with the almighty but in fact divide between the sexes, in the name of god and worship. This has been going on for years- unchecked and unreliable religious practices – that propagate division and discrimination against women. From not being allowed to visit certain temples or take part in religious rites, women have often been cast aside from something as pure and natural as wanting to pray to god the way they want. And the biggest example for this has been the Sabarimala temple case that did not allow for women between ages of 10 and 50 to enter the temple in Kerala for years.
As per the Kerala Hindu Places of Public Worship Rules 1965, menstruating women between the ages of 10 and 50 were barred from entering the sanctum on grounds that the deity Lord Ayyappa practised celibacy. But for 12 years, the case against overturning this sexist rule had been going on with the hypocrisy of this rule being contested. In the hearings that have been going on in this case, a lot of arguments were made from both sides, with Justice Chandrachud also saying, “When a woman is made in the way that she is by God, or by nature for those who don’t believe in God, then why should her menstrual status be a factor for anything, be it service or worship?” And we are asking the same question.
#Sabarimala issue referred to larger bench … Welcome decision of SC in the direction of protecting rights of devotees & upholding faith … It was never a matter of fundamental rights .. It was a matter of age old tradition accepted by society .. @BJP4Keralam
— B L Santhosh (@blsanthosh) November 14, 2019
The court that finally announced the judgement of scrapping the archaic rule, opened the temple to all, and faced a lot resistance for the decision. Today, the Supreme Court announced the involvement of a larger seven -judge bench after a 3:2 decision, to re-examine the various religious issues relating to gender bias, that were not just limited to Sabarimala Temple but also other mosques and practice of the female genital mutilation in the Dawoodi Bohra community. And to be honest, we are relieved that the bigger picture is being taken into account because god knows these kind of things need to be done away with.
— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) November 14, 2019
With opposing views being sounded off, there has been a lot of commotion about the final verdict. But it would be perhaps for the first time that a decision of this magnitude is also being used to address a greater issue behind it all. Guess the fact that women have been oppressed even in the name of religion, is no longer going to be brushed under the carpet, and is finally being taken head on – as it should have all this while ago.
Of course the verdict to plea to a larger seven judge bench isn’t a win, but it is a start, and for that we are happy and hopeful.