A Pune-based Muslim couple has approached the Supreme Court seeking a direction to allow women to enter mosques to offer their prayers.
The act of prohibition of females from entering mosque is void and unconstitutional as such practices are not only repugnant to the basic dignity of a woman as an individual but also violate the fundamental rights guaranteed under Articles 14, 15, 21 and 25 of the Constitution,” Yasmeen and Zuber Ahmad Peerzade said in their joint petition.
The couple contended there were no records stating that the Holy Quran and Prophet Muhammad had opposed women’s entry to mosques to offer prayers. Like men, women also have the constitutional rights to offer worship according to their belief, they said.
At present, women are allowed to offer prayers at mosques under Jamaat-e-Islami and Mujahid denominations, while they are barred from mosques under the predominant Sunni faction, they contended. Some of the mosques where women are allowed, there are separate entrances and enclosures for worship for men and women. There should not be any gender discrimination, they pleaded. The petitioners sought a direction permitting Islamic women to enter through the main door and have an Islamic right to visual and auditory access to the musalla (main sanctuary) in the mosques.
Epic Reply By Supreme Court
The Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to hear their petition. A bench headed by Justice S A Bobde issued notice to the Centre and asked it to respond to the plea filed by a Pune-based couple.
“The only reason we may hear you is because of our judgement in Sabarimala temple,” a Bench of Justices S.A. Bobde and S. Abdul Nazeer remarked orally. The court issued notice to the government and various bodies, including the National Commission for Women.
In September last, a Constitution Bench of the court lifted the age-old ban on women of menstrual age, between 10 and 50 years, entering the famed Sabarimala temple in Kerala. The decision created an uproar. Multiple review petitions were filed, heard and reserved for judgement. The court had held that the Sabarimala ban amounted to discrimination and even the practice of untouchability. Women had equal right to worship in a “public” temple.
The court had also played a key role in facilitating the entry of women into the sanctum of the Haji Ali dargah in Mumbai.
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