A petition to quash the unconstitutional prohibition of women worshippers’ entries into the mosques was accepted for hearing by Supreme Court on Tuesday. The petition filed under Article 32 of the constitution in the apex court sought justice in the issue of women not permitted by head of mosques to worship inside the mosques. The apex court also issued notice to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led Central Government, National Commission for Women (NCW) and All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB). The court has sought a reply from the above stakeholders in the case to decide in the matter.
A Pune based couple, Zuber Peerzade and Yasmin Peerzade, alleged in the petition that women are prohibited from entering mosques and that several attempts to seek justice from heads of mosques on the issue proved futile. “At present, women are allowed to offer prayers at mosques under Jamat-e-Islami and Mujahid denominations, while they are barred from mosques under the predominant Sunni faction,” read the petition.
It stated further that wherever the women are allowed to offer prayers, the men and women are treated differently there. “It is submitted that even in the mosques where women are allowed to worship, there are separate entrances and enclosures for men and women. There should not be any gender discrimination and Muslim women should also be allowed to pray in all mosques, cutting across denominations. It is submitted that there is no such gender discrimination in Mecca, the holy city,” read the petition.
The petitioner argued in the petition that there is no official instructions or records in the holy Quran or by Prophet Muhammad to do any such injustice with women worshippers in the mosques. “A mosque is not an individual person. There are no records stating that the Holy Quran and Prophet Muhammad had not opposed women entering mosques and offering prayers,” argued the petitioners’ counsel Ashutosh Dubey before the bench. “Like men, women also have the constitutional rights to offer worship according to their belief.” added the petition.
The bench of apex court headed by Justice SA Bobde and comprising of Justice S Abdul Naseer, acknowledged the petition filed by the Pune based couple while stating that they are hearing the case due to the apex court’s verdict on Sabarimala temple last year. “The only reason we may hear you is because of our judgement in the Sabarimala temple case,” observed the bench of justices.
The apex court had, on September 28, quashed the unconstitutional ban on entries of women, aged between 10-50 year old, to the century old Lord Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala, Kerala.