New Delhi: Shiv Sena has called for a statewide strike on October 1 to protest against the Supreme Court’s judgment in which it lifted the ban on women’s entry to Ayyappa’s Sabarimala temple. The strike will be observed for 12 hours from dawn to dusk in Kerala.

On Friday, the Supreme Court had lifted the ban on women’s entry to Ayyappa’s Sabarimala temple saying females can’t be treated as weaker or lesser. Reading out the judgment, Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra said, “Women are worshipped as goddesses in India and no biological factor can be given legitimacy if it can’t pass the test of conditionality.”

While pronouncing the judgment, CJI Dipak Misra had said that the ban in place violated constitutional principles and that women’s rights cannot be subverted as they are in no way less than men.

With the ruling, women of all age groups will now be allowed in Kerala’s Sabarimala temple. Misra had said, “Rules violate Article 14 and 25. Devotees of Lord Ayyappa are Hindus, don’t constitute a separate religious denomination. No physiological and biological factor can be given legitimacy if it doesn’t pass the test of conditionality. Restrictions put by Sabarimala temple can’t be held as essential religious practice.”

A group of five women lawyers has challenged Rule 3(b) of the Kerala Hindu Places of Public Worship (Authorisation of Entry) Rules, 1965, which authorises restriction on women “of menstruating age”. They moved the apex court after the Kerala HC upheld the centuries-old restriction, and ruled that only the “tantri (priest)” was empowered to decide on traditions.

Sabarimala is a prominent Hindu temple which attracts tens of millions of pilgrims every year. The hill-top shrine remains open only for a little over four months in a year and the approach is through a forested area that involves an arduous 5-km trek from the Pampa river base camp.