As a five-judge bench of the Supreme Court struck down the ban on the entry of women into Kerala's renowned Sabarimala Temple, the only woman judge on the bench, Indu Malhotra, dissented with the majority verdict, saying courts must not interfere with issues concerning "deep religious sentiments".
The top court, in a majority four-one judgement, today ruled that women between 10 and 50 years of age can enter the temple, saying "the practice of age restriction on women entry to Sabrimala can't be treated as an essential religious practice."
Justice Malhotra, however, was of the view that it was not for courts to determine which religious practices are to be struck down except in issues of social evil like 'Sati'.
A day earlier, Justice Indu Malhotra was also a part of the Supreme Court bench that in a landmark ruling decriminalized adultery after striking down a British-era law, Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code, terming it as unconstitutional, archaic and manifestly arbitrary.
Justice Malhotra, 62, was part of another historic verdict delivered earlier this month when the Supreme Court decriminalised homosexuality between consenting adults by declaring as "manifestly arbitrary" Section 377 of Indian Penal Code, the penal provision which criminalised gay sex.
Asserting that criminalising consensual sexual acts between persons of same gender was violative of their fundamental rights, Justice Malhotra had said that history owed an apology to the Indian LGBTs for "delay in providing redressal" for their sufferings over the centuries.
Ms Malhotra is one of the three women judges in the Supreme Court - a first since Independence. In April, she became the first senior woman advocate to be directly appointed as a judge to the Supreme Court.
A decade earlier, Ms Malhotra was the second woman lawyer to be appointed as senior advocate by the Supreme Court, three decades after the first, Justice Leila Seth, was designated.
Before her appointment as Supreme Court Justice, Indu Malhotra had practiced law for three decades - she specialises in arbitration, and has appeared in various domestic and international commercial arbitrations.
A second generation lawyer, Justice Indu Malhotra was born in 1956 in Bengaluru. She went to school in Delhi; obtained her Bachelor's Degree in Political Science from the renowned Lady Shri Ram College in Political Science, and later did her Masters in Political Science from Delhi University, according to the Supreme Court website.
She started her career as an Advocate in 1983 when she enrolled with the Bar Council of Delhi.
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