But the court ruled 4-1 the practice of excluding women can not be regarded as an essential religious practice.
Justice Indu Malhotra, the lone dissenting judge and the only woman judge in the five-judge bench, said, "religious practices can not exclusively be tested on the basis of the right to equality". The court observed that men and women are equal in the eyes of the Indian Constitution, and barring the entry of women between the ages of 10 and 50, was in contravention to Article 25 of the Constitution, which says everyone is guaranteed the freedom to practice what religion they choose.
The analogy sought to be drawn by comparing the rights of Dalits with reference to entry to temples and women is wholly misconceived and unsustainable", Justice Malhotra "Worship has two elements - the worshipper, and the worshipped.
Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra said banning the entry of a large section of women was discriminatory and violated their rights. The petitioners do not claim to be devotees of the Sabarimala Temple where Lord Ayyappa is believed to have manifested himself as a "Naishtik Brahmachari'".
Advocate Jaideep Gupta, representing the state government, said it would support the entry of women of all ages to the temple. The head priest of Sabarimala Temple, Kandararu Rajeevarau said that he was disappointed but accepted the Supreme Court verdict on women entry.
India's Supreme Court often makes decisions that its politicians and bureaucrats won't.
"No physiological and biological factor can be given legitimacy if it does not pass the test of conditionality". In addition, Eshwar said he and his associates would file a review petition.
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The court also emphasized that extramarital affairs, while still valid grounds for divorce, were a private matter between adults. The Chief Justice also said that any law that affects the idividual dignity of women will invite the wrath of the constitution.
In the ruling, Justice Chandrachud criticised this diktat, saying: "The ban says presence of women deviates from celibacy".
"Religion can not become a cover to exclude and deny women their right to worship", Justice D.Y. Chandrachud also said in a separate but concurring judgment. The temple, however, refused to open its doors to women of menstruating age (10 to 50 years).
The supreme court has been called into action because of a significant rise in public interest litigation in recent years after heal-dragging by successive Indian governments on decisions relating to social issues. He said the right claimed by thanthris who justified prohibition integral to their faith must yield to the right of women who can not be denied the right to worship at any temple of their choice.
Four judgments will be passed at 10:30 am by CJI Dipak Misra, Justice Nariman, Justice Chandrachud and Justice Malhotra.
Significantly, the board had asked the court to steer clear of sitting in judgment on religious matters.
The verdict of the case will be passed taking into account the plea stating that the temple's rules Articles 14, 15 and 17.
Travancore Devaswom Board is said to have the legal authority to manage the Sabarimala temple's administration.