The Supreme Court on Tuesday admitted for consideration a plea by a couple to lift the ban on Muslim women’s entry into mosques across the country.
Based on the plea by a Pune-based Muslim couple the Supreme Court has issued a notice to the Centre, the Waqf Board and the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB).
What are the arguments made by the Petitioner?
- Banning the entry of women into Mosques violates Articles 14 (Equality), 15 (Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth), 21 (Protection of life and personal liberty), 25 (Freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion) and 29 (Protection of interests of minorities) of the Constitution.
- Bar on Muslim women entry to mosques was violative of Article 44 of the Constitution of India, which encourages the State to secure a Uniform Civil Code for all citizens, by eliminating discrepancies between various personal laws currently in force in the country.
- The petition also laid emphasis on the apex court’s Sabarimala verdict where the Supreme Court had lifted the ban on entry of women into Kerala’s Sabarimala temple stating “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”.
Accepting the petition the Supreme Court had said that “We are only hearing you, and maybe will hear you in the future, because of Sabarimala Judgment.”
At present women are allowed to offer prayers at mosques under the Jamaat-e-Islami and Mujahid denominations and women are barred from mosques under the predominant Sunni faction. Even in mosques where women are allowed, there are separate entrances and enclosures for worship for men and women.