THE IDEA OF CORRECTNESS IN LAW: Analytical study of Sabarimala Case
Author: Aaditya Sinha
These days, there is a trend to trend something now and then there are many trends on Twitter and other social media networks. In these times, when social media has crossed the bridge between the “choice” and “need” it is obvious that there would be many opinions floating here and there. The problem with the opinion and specifically opinion on social media are that it's very much binary in nature. In other words, in the end, the user is just interested to know that on whose political spectrum you are. Whenever a judgment is being delivered the whole debate in social media is about who is “right” and who is “wrong”. In the search of “right” and “wrong”, it is probably the reasoning which always losses the battle. In this blog, the idea is to talk about a case that was decided by a High court and then a Supreme Court. Over four decades, this case has seen many debates, two major decisions by two of the highest court in our country. However, in the end despite having a judgment there is no solution for this case.
The issue of Sabarimala Temple: Facts and a brief Timeline
Sabarimala is a temple located in Pathanamthitta district, Kerala. The temple has an idol of Lord ayyappa, it is said that he took celibacy and there are many more things attached. This was the reason that any girl who is of menstruating age is not allowed to enter the temple area. In 1990 there was a case filed stating that young women are visiting the Sabarimala temple who belongs to the age group of 10 to 50. The Kerala high court in 1991 gave a verdict in which they said that every citizen has a right to manage their religious affairs. Under Article 26(b) of the Indian Constitution, every citizen has the right to manage their affairs in matters of religion. The high court also stated that the law of the temple is not against under Article 14,15,19 of the Indian constitution The court also stated that the restrictions in the temple do not violate section 3 of the Hindu Place of Public Worship (Authorisation of Entry) Act, 1965. Under section 3 of the act, it has been stated that for the benefit of the religious denomination the temple may manage its affairs. So, in 1991 the Kerala High Court supported this rule, however here one should not be bothered about what is “correct” or “Incorrect”, one should just understand the beauty of law which is all about reasoning.
In 2006, this case was challenged in the Supreme Court when six women who were members of the “Indian Young Lawyers Association” filed a petition that women who are in menstruating age(between 10 and 50 years) should be allowed to enter the temple. After 12 years the verdict came in a majority of 4-1 where the supreme court decided that the rules of the temple were violating articles 14,15,and article 19 of the Indian Constitution which states that everyone is equal and there should be no untouchability on the grounds of caste, creed, sex, religion.
The idea of correctness: An analytical approach of Sabarimala Case
The reason to analyze this case is to understand the concept of “correctness” in the judgment of the case, because if there is a question that is framed as “Do you support Sabrimala Judgment or not”, then what would be your answer. As an individual, you may have a specific ideology and you can support anything, however when you have to think through the legal lenses, then everything changes, because there is no one correct answer to this specific case, under article 26 the temple has the right to manage their affairs, under article 14,15, and article 19 every person has the right to go anywhere. However, it is the “reasonability” that justifies that nothing in any law is objective; a law is something that has to run along with the society, what is “right” could be “wrong” in the very next moment. Another interesting thing about this case is that the only disagreement in the judgment was by Justice Indu Malhotra who herself is a female.
In a country, where we face many sensitive issues this case proved that how sensitive it could be when religion is at stake. Many people follow certain customs, and however illogical it may seem to anyone there are going to stay. After the Supreme Court judgment in 2018, the whole state of Kerala was burning, there were protests here and there. These days, judgments are considered as a sporting event between two teams, where one has to win and the other has to lose, at least in sports the team who loses congratulates the other team, however in legal judgments the supporters of the losing party condemns the umpire alleges them to be sold, and the supporters of the winning party celebrate as their victory. In this win and loose, the idea of “reasoning” and “debates” vanishes somewhere near the judgment.