In a landmark judgment, the Supreme Court allowed entry of women of all ages into the Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala in Kerala.
Reactions are pouring in after the verdict was given.
Here are the updates:
Shashi Tharoor welcomes verdict
Shashi Tharoor, MP, has welcomed the ruling, saying the court has reiterated the case of equal justice through this verdict.
''We cannot obstruct anyone who would like to visit the place of worship in the name of gender,'' he told media persons after delivering a lecture on social transformation and education at Sacred Heart College, Thevara, Kochi, on Friday.
Pandalam Palace expresses apprehensions
The Supreme Court's judgment on women’s entry to Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple is likely to create a host of controversies and accompanying problems across society, Pandalam Palace Managing Committee chairman P. Ramavarma Raja observed.
With the “support of legends and history and with its role in the present day rituals and practices at Sabarimala, the Pandalam Palace is all willing to advice and help the temple authorities for solving the problems and protecting the sanctity of the temple,” he said.
Shashikumar Varma, representative of the former Pandalam royal family, has said the verdict is disappointing
Congress calls it a progressive order
The Congress on Friday described the verdict as “progressive”. It said there could be no discrimination to worship on the basis of gender.
“There can be no discrimination to worship on the basis of gender or otherwise. A welcome and progressive move towards gender equality by Supreme Court in Sabarimala. As society evolves, so should our religious beliefs and laws,” Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala tweeted.
VHP terms ruling unfortunate
The Kerala unit of the Viswa Hindu Parishad termed the verdict an unfortunate one. The organisation would soon approach the apex court with a review petition, said S.J.R. Kumar, its president.
"The VHP recognises and accepts the apex court verdict in the case. The organisation will fully abide by the directives of the court and will not obstruct any woman from entering the temple. However, one may not be able to predict the response of Ayyappa devotees to women entering the temple," he said.
Activists hail judgment
Chhavi Methi, a rights activist, welcomed the judgment, but said its acceptance remained 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,” she said.
Another women rights activist Vani Subramaniam too 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,” she said.
Mariam Dhawale, general secretary of the The All India Democratic Women’s Association, called it another step that would help in bringing equality. “We welcome the judgement. Women have a constitutional right to be able to visit the temple and whoever wishes must be allowed to visit it,” she said.
Jaimala says her faith and belief has come true
Karnataka Women and Child Development Minister Jaimala termed the verdict historic. "Women have got justice today. There is no happier moment in my life other than this. I thank the women community, Supreme Court judges and God today...I also thank Ambedkar who wrote our Constitution.”
The actress-turned-politician created a storm some years ago by claiming that she had in her prime youth entered the sanctum sanctorum of the temple and touched the idol of the presiding deity.
Responding to a question on the earlier incident, she said, “That day also I had faith and belief in God and our judiciary, and that faith and belief has come true today.”
Asked about the opposing voices to the judgement, she said “God will protect.”
Maneka sees Hinduism becoming even more inclusive
Union Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi said the verdict would make Hinduism even more inclusive.
Hailing the apex court judgement, Ms. Gandhi said it was a “wonderful” judgement that paved the way to make Hinduism even more inclusive. “It opens up the way forward for Hinduism to become even more inclusive and not a property of one caste or one sex,” she said.
Respect judgment: Kerala BJP leader Sobha Surendran
BJP national executive member and Kerala State general secretary of the party Sobha Surendran said that women who respected the sanctity of the Sabarimala temple would wisely choose whether to go there or not.
Ms. Surendran said that the court pronounced its verdict considering all legal aspects of the issue. “I respect the court judgment,” she told The Hindu .
Court decision 'disappoints' temple head priest
The Supreme Court verdict was “disappointing”, but the 'Tantri family' will accept it, Sabarimala head priest Kandararu Rajeevararu said.
Kerala Brahmin Sabha wants law to override verdict
The Kerala Brahmin Sabha that represents Tamil Brahmins across the State has termed the verdict disappointing and an infringement on the religious freedom protected by the Constitution.
Sabha president Karimpuzha Raman said the organisation would support any legal attempt of the devotees facilitating a review of the verdict. He said customs and practices of any religious institution or place worship must not be altered. No religious practice must be subjected to judicial scrutiny, he said.
Mr. Raman appealed to the Union government and political parties to think about the possibility of legislation overriding the Supreme Court verdict.
'No normal women devotee will defy the traditions'
BJP leader and former South India RSS organising secretary P. P. Mukundan flayed the verdict, saying the Hindu community would not accept it as it was against the centuries-old tradition of the Sabarimala temple.
"There is no law that bans the entry of women to Sabarimala. However, each temple follows customs, practices and rituals. May be some young rationalist women would enter the temple now. But no normal Ayyappa women devotee will defy the traditions," he said.
Minister 'wholeheartedly welcomes' court decision
"We wholeheartedly welcome the verdict," Kerala Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran said.
"It is for the Travancore Devaswom Board to implement the SC decision. The government has already made its stand already clear," he said.
TDB member describes rule as historic
Travancore Devaswom Board member K.P. Sankaradas has described the verdict historic. "This verdict has to been in the context of social justice," he said.
Travancore Devaswom Board president K. Padmakumar said the board would discuss the matter in all its seriousness and take steps to implement it.
"As an institution that is bound to abide by the law of the land and the highest court in the country, we are duty bound to implement the SC verdict," he said. "We are neither have or unhappy. Personally, I am happy about it. But we need to take into account all viewpoints when implementing the SC verdict," he added
State Minister Sudhakaran welcomes verdict
The Kerala government has welcomed the verdict even as the reading of judgment is underway. Kerala Public Works Minister G. Sudhakaran says he welcomes it.