India Supreme Court’s Sabarimala verdict leaves Twitterati divided

India’s top court ruled that women of all ages should be allowed to enter temple dedicated to Lord Ayyappa

Devotees wait at Lord Ayyappa temple, in Sabarimala.


Dubai: As India’s Supreme Court announced its judgement allowing women of all ages to enter the Sabarimala temple in Kerala, the issue became the biggest topic of discussion on social media.

The announcement left the public opinion divided, with some supporting the top court for ending a practice they called discriminatory and others criticising the bench for interfering in religious traditions.

Referring to the Supreme Court’s recent judgements on adultery and homosexuality, @MalhotraMohil tweeted: “Another landmark judgement by the Supreme Court. Supreme Court is on a roll these days”

@samirsaran added: “Super September for India. Makes some headway towards becoming a modern and free society and culture. #SabrimalaVerdict”

Another user @dharmendramiami tweeted: “Brilliant judgement!!! I will never go to a temple where women are discriminated against. It is a victory for humankind not for just women.”

Many social media users were suprised on how the dissenting vote in the 4-1 decision was by the only woman on the bench – Justice Indu Malhotra.

@janani_manian wrote: “The only dissenting opinion comes from a woman. Wow. This country always takes me by surprise #Sabarimala”

@alishaikh3310 tweeted: “It is really disturbing that the only woman judge out of the five-judge bench who pronounced verdict on women entry to #Sabarimala temple has a different opinion than the rest. The verdict is passed with 4:1 majority but that one being a woman makes me think on it again. #Sabarimala”

In her statement, Justice Malhotra clarified her positon on the matter saying taht issues of deep religious sentiments shouldn’t be ordinarily interfered into.

She received support online for her position on the subject, with @Abhishe39317699 tweeting: “Stinging dissent to all the so-called arm chair liberals by the only woman judge on the bench!”

@NVSANKARAN added: “While all the male judges are too progressive to permit entry of women of all ages to Sabarimala, is it not paradoxical that the only woman judge clearly wanted the sanctity, dignity and individuality of Bhagavan Ayyappa to be preserved. #RightToPray”

Others recommended the need for religious experts to be part of such decisions. @Deepakjsingh8 wrote: “In the Supreme Court, there should be one religious-constitutional bench comprising of religious experts having deeper knowledge of religious texts or scriptures with the knowledge of the constitution for resolving religious issues.”

Others outright criticised the court for interfering in centuries old traditions.

Facebook user Kishore Tumu wrote: “With all due respect to Supreme Court and women in the country, this is very painful to break an age-old tradition and it hurts crores of devotees …”

However, there were some social media users who opted to stay away from the heated debate and instead suggested ways in which society could move forward following the decision.

Tweep @smitabarooah reacted to the announcement by tweeting: “Fair enough. The courts interpreted the issue as one of gender equality. For the faithful it is about sacred tradition. Non-believers may use order to violate tradition and score a point. Those who believe will wait irrespective. #SabrimalaVerdict”

Another Twitter user @BalakrishnanGN wrote: “Authorities must ensure no stampede takes place in the precincts of Sabarimala. Must develop better infrastructure to cater to the additional inflow of devotees. Must put in place better crowd control mechanisms in consultation with temple authorities. Drones must be brought in.”

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