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SC issues notice to Centre on plea seeking entry of Muslim women into mosques to offer prayers


The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued notice to the Centre on a PIL seeking permission for Muslim women to enter and offer namaz inside mosques. 

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The SC bench has asked the Centre to respond to the plea filed by a Pune-based couple
  • The only reason we may hear you is because of our judgment in the Sabarimala temple case: SC
  • The apex court also issued notice to the Waqf Board

The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued notice to the Centre on a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking permission for Muslim women to enter and offer namaz inside mosques.

The apex court also issued notice to the Waqf Board.

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 bench told the counsel appearing for the petitioner that it will hear the matter because of the apex court’s judgment in the case involving Kerala’s Sabarimala temple.

“The only reason we may hear you is because of our judgment in the Sabarimala temple case,” the bench said.

In their petition, Muslim couple asked the apex court to declare the prohibition on entry of women inside mosques in the country as illegal and unconstitutional as it violated the fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution.

Pointing out that there was no mention of any gender segregation in either Quran or Hadith, the couple’s counsel Ashutosh Dubey said: “….such practices are not only repugnant to the basic dignity of a woman as an individual, but also violative of their fundamental rights… “

The petitioners said there were no records stating that the Quran and Prophet Muhammad opposed women entering mosques and offering prayers, and in fact men and women have equal constitutional rights to worship, according to their beliefs.”

At present, women are allowed to offer prayers at mosques under the Jamaat-e-Islami and Mujahid denominations but they are barred from mosques under the predominant Sunni faction, said the petition.

The petition also mentioned that in mosques where women are allowed, there are separate entrances and enclosures for worship for the two genders.

The petition said there should not be any gender discrimination at all, and that all Muslim women should be allowed to pray in all mosques, cutting across denominations.

To support their argument, the petitioners had cited the recent Supreme Court judgement allowing the entry of women in Kerala’s Sabarimala Temple.

“The hon’ble court in the case of Sabraimala held that ‘religion cannot be used as cover to deny rights of worship to women as it is against human dignity’. Prohibition on women is due to non-religious reasons and it is a grim shadow of discrimination going on for centuries,” the petitioners said.

READ | Supreme Court to hear plea on allowing women inside mosques today

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