"We will go for a review petition after getting support from other religious heads", said A. Padmakumar, president of Travancore Devaswom Board which manages the hilltop temple, as quoted by Reuters. "Religious practices can not exclusively be tested on the basis of the right to equality".
"As society evolves, so should our religious beliefs and laws", he tweeted. "It would open the floodgates to interlopers to question religious beliefs and practices", she warned. "Notions of rationality can not be brought into matters of religion", she said.
"Notions of rationality can not be invoked in matters of religion by courts", justice Malhotra said, observing that the decision in the case will have wide-reaching ramifications for all places of worship of various religions in the country. "Equality must be seen with the rights of worshippers", she added.
Justice Malhotra said notions of rationality can not be brought into matters of religion and India has diverse religious practices and constitutional morality would allow anyone to profess a religion they believe.
The verdict essentially highlights the chasm that exists between millions of practicing Hindus who live the faith everyday with understanding and reverence on one hand, and the educated elite on the other, who look down upon these masses with a patronising, condescending view rooted in colonial prejudices that seeks to characterise the customs and practices of Hindu faith as regressive and discriminatory. "Women would accept it, but its implementation might pose a problem", she said. Delivering the judgment, CJI Misra said Ayyappa devotees do not constitute a separate religious denomination.
However, the petitioners in the case were not devotees.
Assertion of the right to equality can be invoked only by persons belonging to matters of same faith, creed or sect, she held.
The manifestation of the deity at the Sabarimala temple, Ayyappa, is in the form of a naishtika brahmachari, who practises strict penance and the severest form of celibacy.The bench was dealing with a PIL filed in 2006 by Indian Young Lawyers Association seeking to ensure entry of women devotees between the age group of 10 to 50 at the temple. For example, if a person argues tomorrow that temples should not insist on removal of footwear or on other forms of ritual purity while entering the temple premises and that this amounts to discrimination against those who can not maintain such purity, where does this argument lead to?