New Delhi [India], Sept 28 (ANI): Hours after the Supreme Court announced its verdict allowing entry of women of all ages into the Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple in Kerala, politicians across party lines welcomed the historic judgement, saying that the right to pray should not be discriminated against them. Also Read - Photos of Blue, Clear and Breathtaking Yamuna River Amid Coronavirus Lockdown go Viral

A five-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, in its 4:1 verdict, said banning women’s entry into the temple is gender discrimination and violates the rights of Hindu women. The ruling came after a petition argued that the practice violated gender equality. Also Read - Good News! India's Oldest Covid-19 Survivor, Wife Discharged in Kerala

When ANI spoke to ministers, members of Parliament and leaders from various political parties, they all welcomed the verdict. Also Read - Amid Lockdown, Supreme Court Issues Notice to Centre on Plea Seeking Payment of Wages to Migrant Workers

Union Minister for Women and Child Development, Maneka Gandhi, termed the judgment as wonderful. She said, “It opens up and brings the way forward for Hinduism to become even more inclusive and not a property of one caste or one sex. A woman is considered a ‘Devi’ (goddess), so how can you prevent Devi from entering a temple? It is a very good judgment.”

Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Subramanian Swamy echoed similar sentiments saying, “I fully welcome this judgment of the Supreme Court. I have been vocal about it in the last few months. The gender equality cannot be differentiated on the basis of women’s physique or any other aspect. So, the court has done the right thing. I congratulate the Supreme Court for doing justice to the women of the country.”

Welcoming the verdict, senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge too said, “I welcome this judgment. Women everywhere should be allowed to visit temples and should be respected. This is a good thing.”

Congress leader Renuka Choudhary hailed the verdict saying, “We have a right to go and worship wherever we want. I congratulate the CJI (Dipak Misra) for taking this stand.”

Communist Party of India (CPI) Member of Parliament D Raja asserted, “It is an important decision. The people are hailing it as a historic judgment. It recognises the right to pray as one of the fundamental rights of citizens. And such a right should not be discriminated against women.”

Women of menstruating age were barred from entering the Sabarimala temple by its officials, who had argued that the temple deity, Lord Ayyappa, had taken a vow of celibacy.

Allowing women of all ages to enter the holy site, the apex court said that no physiological and biological factor can be given legitimacy if it doesn’t pass the test of conditionality.

The top court said that devotees of Lord Ayyappa are Hindus and do not constitute a separate religious denomination, while adding that restrictions put by Sabarimala temple cannot be held as essential religious practice. (ANI)

This is published unedited from the ANI feed.