New Delhi: Supreme Court on Tuesday issued notices to the Centre, National Commission for Women, Central Waqf Council and All India Muslim Personal Law Board on a plea seeking direction that Muslim women be allowed to enter mosques and offer prayers.
The apex court said, “The only reason we will hear the matter is because of our judgment in Sabarimala temple case.” It must be noted that the petitioners had also invoked the court’s verdict in the Sabarimala Temple case to substantiate their point.
The petition filed by a Pune-based couple also seeks direction to declare the prohibition on entry of Muslim women into mosques in the country “illegal and unconstitutional” as it violates women’s fundamental rights.
Moving the plea, the couple had pointed out that there was no mention of any gender segregation in either Quran or Hadith. Their lawyer pleaded, “….such practices are not only repugnant to the basic dignity of a woman as an individual but also violative of their fundamental rights…”
The petition has arraigned the Centre, the Ministry of Minority Affairs, the Central Wakf Council, the Maharashtra State Board of Wakfs and All India Muslim Personal Law Board as parties to the case.
The petitioners said that 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 that there should not be any gender discrimination at all and that all Muslim women should be allowed to pray in all mosques.