The Supreme Court has directed the Kerala government to provide adequate security to the two women who offered prayers at Sabarimala on January 2 after the court overturned a ban on women of menstruating age entering the shrine.
As many as 51 women have entered the temple after the court’s ruling, counsel for the Kerala government told the court. The two women, Kanaka Durga and Bindu Ammini, both in their 40s, had approached the court seeking protection.
Their entry to the shrine led to widespread protests across the state. The society is split on the court’s September 28 ruling overturning the traditional ban on women of menstruating age, entering the temple.
The ruling sparked a debate on the right to worship and gender equality, with thousands of right-wing protesters physically stopping women from entering the temple.
The two women were escorted to the temple by the administration in secrecy around dawn. They were assisted by police personnel and taken through a staff entrance instead of the usual route that involves climbing 18 steps.
The Supreme Court verdict granting women the right to enter the Sabarimala temple was passed by a 4:1 majority by a bench comprising the then chief justice Dipak Misra and Mr. justices D.Y. Chandrachud, A.M. Khanwilkar, R.F. Nariman and Indu Malhotra. The latter, was the sole woman on the bench, and the only one with a dissenting opinion.
Mr. Justice Chandrachud, in his judgement, said religion could not become a reason for excluding and denying people the basic right to find fulfilment in worship. Physiological factors associated with women could not provide a rationale to deny them the right to worship, he said.