The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued a notice to the Centre, National Commission for Women (NCW), Central Waqf Council, and All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) on a plea seeking entry of women into mosques in order to offer prayers.
The Supreme Court bench headed by Justice SA Bobde and comprising Justice S Abdul Naseer admitted the plea of a Pune-based Muslim couple asking to lift the prohibition on entry of Muslim women into mosques.
The apex court said, "the only reason we may hear you is because of our judgment in Sabarimala temple".
The petition filed before the top court also sought direction to declare the prohibition on entry of Muslim women into mosques in the country as "illegal and unconstitutional" because it violates the fundamental rights of women.
During the hearing, the court asked the petitioner's advocate Ashutosh Dubey, "who denied entry to the women in mosque? "Have you tried to enter and anybody denied it?"
"Can an individual assert his or her right to equality against a non-state player. Is a mosque or temple or church a state?" asked the bench.
It further said, "If a person refuses to let you enter his house can you seek police help for it?"
In his argument, the petitioner's counsel told the court, "A mosque is not an individual person. There are no records stating that the Holy Quran and Prophet Muhammad had opposed women entering mosques and offering prayers...Like men, women also have the constitutional rights to offer worship according to their belief."
The counsel further 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.
The petitioner citing the Sabarimala judgement stated, "This Court in the case of Sabarimala held that "religion cannot be used as cover to deny rights of worship to women and it is also against human dignity. Prohibition on women is due to non-religious reasons and it is a grim shadow of discrimination going on for centuries.
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