Centre to reply to plea on entry of women in mosque: SC

The Supreme Court on Friday gave the Centre time till November 5 to respond to a PIL filed by a Pune-based Muslim couple seeking a direction to allow entry of women in the mosque to offer prayers without any discrimination.

A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices S A Bobde and S Abdul Nazeer asked the Centre to file its reply to a joint petition filed by Yasmeen and Zuber Ahmad Peerzade.

The court had on April 16 admitted the matter for consideration saying would consider the issue, in view of Sabarimala temple judgement.

Besides the Centre, the National Commission for Women, All India Muslim Personal Law Board, Central Wakf Council were the other parties in the matter.

On September 25, 2018, a five-judge bench allowed entry of all women to Kerala's Sabarimala temple, quashing the ban imposed on those women between 10 and 50 years of age. A batch of review petitions was filed in the court on which it had reserved its judgement.

Petitioner-couple, through counsel Ashutosh Dubey, contended the act of prohibition of females from entering mosque was void and unconstitutional as such practices were not only repugnant to the basic dignity of a woman as an individual but also violative of the fundamental rights guaranteed under Articles 14, 15, 21 and 25 of the Constitution.

Background:

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.

The couple contended there were 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, 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, the petitioners pleaded.

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