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Browse Law School Education Constitutional Law Discussion on the Sabarimala Case

Charu Mathur: So that is also a good argument in a way. Like if you look at Sati, it was a social evil, so they brought out a legislation on it. FGM (female genital mutilation) should also go. But what I understand from you is if there is something customarily going on in some religious denomination or in a religion as a whole, the court should stay away from it.

Prashant Padmanabhan: That is the argument of the Central Government. I have no difficulty in the first part which you have said. Abolition of Sati or any other social, any other legislation for social reform is always welcome.

Charu Mathur: Right.

Prashant Padmanabhan: That then will come to the court and somebody will challenge it as affecting their fundamental right to religion. Then the court can always test it. But the problem with the argument that the court should not try to reform is that in so many aspects, religion has to say something on every aspect of life. That's what Dr Ambedkar said in our country—Religion means, religion has a say in all the aspects of life. Marriage, succession and these things are purely religious or it’s a civil right. Suppose a Parsi woman marries outside her religion, her father dies. Whether she has the right to attend the funeral rites of her father? That question the Supreme Court should look at from the civil rights’ angle. It’s not part of religion. Religion may have something to say on that. But irrespective of that, the court should give effect to the rights of individuals.