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How Women Activists, Lawyers Reacted to SC’s Sabarimala Verdict 

Activists, journalists and lawyers hailed the judgment as a win for gender equality.

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How Women Activists, Lawyers Reacted to SC’s  Sabarimala Verdict 

A five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, in a 4:1 majority on Friday, 28 September, granted women of all age groups entry into Kerala's Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala.

The court observed that banning the entry of women into the shrine is discriminatory and the practice violates rights of Hindu women.

Activists, journalists and lawyers hailed the judgment as a win for gender equality.

Supreme Court lawyer Indira Jaising said Friday was a day of freedom for women.

Senior journalist Barkha Dutt also welcomed the judgment while expressing curiosity on Indu Malhotra’s dissent, the only woman on the bench.

Activist Trupti Desai, who has been at the forefront of advocating the rights of women of all age groups to enter Sabarimala, said an anarchical mindset had been abolished with the verdict.

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Supreme Court advocate Karuna Nundy remarked that while she appreciated the verdict, she did not appreciate targeting the dissenting Indu Malhotra as a woman judge.

Women’s rights activist Vani Subramanian told PTI that the decision is an extension of various pro-equality judgments taken by the Supreme Court, but she expressed concern over the community's reaction to it

“Question remains to be seen how it is accepted in the community and by the people at the ground level.”
Vani Subramanian, Activist
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Kavita Krishnan, women rights activist and Secretary of the All India Progressive Women's Association (AIPWA), said the decision was long overdue.

“In Instant Triple Talaq, Haji Ali, and Sabarimala cases courts have rightly held that women’s equality can’t be held hostage to religious practices. Just as it’s unconstitutional and discriminatory to debar entry to temples based on caste, it’s the same to debar entry based on gender. Also, we project our own values on our gods - and patriarchal values that put the burden of men’s celibacy or sexual choices on women are deeply damaging to women in real life.”
Kavita Krishnan

National Commission for Women Chairperson Rekha Sharma also welcomed the decision, saying it gives women the right to choose where to go.

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Chhavi Methi, a women’s rights activist welcomed the judgement, but said its acceptance remains to be seen.

“I am doubtful the temple authorities would take it in the right spirit. Women would accept it but its implementation might pose a problem.”
Chhavi Methi

Annie Raja, General Secretary of National Federation of Indian Women, said not allowing women inside temples on the basis of a biological factor was "very wrong".

“Any social reform takes time for acceptance, this is another social reform that would require time for acceptance.” 
Annie Raja

Lauding the Supreme Court judgement, Delhi Commission for Women chairperson Swati Maliwal said the country has waited for very long for this judgement.

“We are living in a democratic country where the order the Supreme Court has to be followed. I appeal to all states to follow the order in letter and spirit.”

(With inputs from PTI)

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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