Topic Of The Day:-“Deeper inquiry”

Were the court to enter into an analysis of these rival claims, by conducting something akin to a trial on whether there exists a tradition as claimed that is essential to the practice of religion, it would be exceeding the remit of its authority, effectively causing it to shoulder dogmatic power over theology. Therefore, what we need is a subtler yet more profound inquiry. Once the court finds that the Sabarimala temple does not represent a separate denomination (this claim is a particularly difficult one for the Dewaswom Board to meet, given that the temple is otherwise open to the public at large), the court must ask itself whether it should yield to the temple’s view on an assumption that there does exist a time-honoured custom prohibiting any women aged between 10 and 50 years from praying at the shrine.

On such a study, the court will undoubtedly notice that most policies of exclusion in India’s history have been defended as being extensions of a prescription of faith, of being rooted in culture and tradition. To defer to an association’s leaders in matters such as these can only, therefore, have the effect of immortalising discrimination. As Madhavi Sunder wrote in a 2002 paper, to side with “advocates of any singular vision of a community… will often have the effect of silencing (indeed, banishing) dissenters and narrowly defining an association. Worse still, law favouring the autonomy of the group over the autonomy of the individual tends to have the harmful effect of favouring the view of the association proffered by the powerful over the views proffered by less powerful members of the group that is, traditionally subordinate members such as women, children, and sexual minorities.”

Indeed, Professor Sunder’s pioneering work on cultural dissent represents a fine starting point in any bid to find a progressive solution to the dispute over temple entry. It’s easy to see the manifold attractions of a general policy of limited judicial intervention in matters of religion. But the court should see this as an opportunity not to rationalise religious practices, but to overturn its existing passé ideas on the subject. Given the inexorable relationship in India between religion and public life, it’s time the court shattered the conventional divides of the public and the private. If the court can look beyond the essential practices doctrine and see this case for what it really is — a denial to women not only of their individual rights to freedom of religion but also of equal access to public space — it can help set the tone for a radical re-reading of the Constitution. This can help the court reimagine its jurisprudence in diverse areas, making a meaningful difference to people’s civil rights across spectrums of caste, class, gender and religion. Ultimately, the Constitution must be seen as representing not a hoary conception of boundaries between the state and the individual, but as a transcendental tool for social revolution.


1) Prohibit

Meaning: Formally forbid (something) by law, rule, or other authority.

Example: “All ivory trafficking between nations is prohibited”

Synonyms: Forbid, Ban  

Antonyms: Permit, Authorize

2) Shrine

Meaning: A place regarded as holy because of its associations with a divinity or a sacred person or relic, marked by a building or other construction.

Example: “The medieval pilgrim route to the shrine of St James”

Synonyms: Holy place, Temple  

3) Anathema

Meaning: A formal curse by a pope or a council of the Church, excommunicating a person or denouncing a doctrine.

Example: “The Pope laid special emphasis on the second of these anathemas”

Synonyms: Curse, Ban  

4) Tenets

Meaning: A principle or belief, especially one of the main principles of a religion or philosophy.

Example: “The tenets of classical liberalism”

Synonyms: Principle, Belief  

5) Jurisprudence

Meaning: The theory or philosophy of law.

Example: “American jurisprudence”

6) Quagmire

Meaning: An awkward, complex, or hazardous situation.

Example: “A legal quagmire”

Synonyms: Muddle, Predicament  

7) Intrinsic

Meaning: Belonging naturally; essential.

Example: “Access to the arts is intrinsic to a high quality of life”

Synonyms: Inherent, Innate  

Antonyms: Extrinsic, Acquired

8) Facet

Meaning: A particular aspect or feature of something.

Example: “A philosophy that extends to all facets of the business”

Synonyms: Aspect, Feature  

9) Profess

Meaning: Affirm one’s faith in or allegiance to (a religion or set of beliefs).

Example: “A people professing Christianity”

Synonyms: Avow, Confess  

10) Propagate

Meaning: Spread and promote (an idea, theory, etc.) widely.

Example: “The French propagated the idea that the English were drunkards”

Synonyms: Spread, Disseminate  

11) Furtherance

Meaning: The advancement of a scheme or interest.

Example: “The court held that the union’s acts were not in furtherance of a trade dispute”

Synonyms: Promotion, Advancement

Antonyms: Hinderance

12) Upheld

Meaning: Confirm or support (something which has been questioned).

Example: “The court upheld his claim for damages”

Synonyms: Confirm, Endorse

Antonyms: Overturn, Oppose

13) Statutes

Meaning: A written law passed by a legislative body.

Example: “The Act consolidated statutes dealing with non-fatal offences”

Synonyms: Law, Regulation  

14) Reliance

Meaning: Dependence on or trust in someone or something.

Example: “The farmer’s reliance on pesticides”

Synonyms: Dependence, Dependency  

15) Deity

Meaning: A representation of a god or goddess, such as a statue or carving.

Example: “Also on show is a bronze falcon deity”

16) Austerity

Meaning: Difficult economic conditions created by government measures to reduce public expenditure.

Example: “The country was subjected to acute economic austerity”

17) Apparently

Meaning: As far as one knows or can see.

Example: “The child nodded, apparently content with the promise”

Synonyms: Seemingly, Evidently  

18) Conflicting

Meaning: Incompatible or at variance; contradictory.

Example: “There are conflicting accounts of what occurred”

19) Carved

Meaning: To make something by cutting into especially wood or stone, or to cut into the surface of stone, wood, etc.

Example: This totem pole is carved from/out of a single tree trunk.

20) Doctrine

Meaning: A belief or set of beliefs held and taught by a Church, political party, or other group.

Example: “The doctrine of predestination”

21) Canon

Meaning: A general law, rule, principle, or criterion by which something is judged.

Example: “The appointment violated the canons of fair play and equal opportunity”

Synonyms: Principle, Rule

22) Contends

Meaning: Assert something as a position in an argument.

Example: “He contends that the judge was wrong”

Synonyms: Assert, Maintain  

23) Customs

Meaning: A traditional and widely accepted way of behaving or doing something that is specific to a particular society, place, or time.

Example: “The old English custom of dancing round the maypole”

Synonyms: Tradition, Practice  

24) Forbidden

Meaning: Not allowed; banned.

Example: “A list of forbidden books”

Synonyms: Prohibited, Taboo

Antonyms: Permitted, Legal

25) Rival

Meaning: A person or thing competing with another for the same objective or for superiority in the same field of activity.

Example: “He has no serious rival for the job”

Synonyms: Competitor, Opponent  

Antonyms: Partner, Ally