Sabarimala forces plea on women's entry in mosques on SC
16 April 2019
The Supreme Court, which gave a verdict allowing entry of women of all ages into the Sabarimala temple in Kerala, has now agreed to examine a petition filed by a Muslim couple from Maharashtra seeking to lift a ban on women’s entry in mosques.
The top court which gave the Sabarimala verdict on a petition filed by a Muslim advocate, however, asked the couple whether they have been stopped by anyone when they tried to worship at a mosque.
The Supreme Court said it will examine a plea on allowing entry of women to mosques without restrictions and issued notices to the Central Waqf Council and the All India Muslim Personal Law Board. Hearing in the case will start tomorrow.
"We are hearing this case because of the Sabarimala verdict. We will see..." the top court said. The top court lifted the century-old ban on entry of women of menstruating age to the hilltop shrine in Kerala in September last year.
The court, however, posed some questions to the Muslim couple that looked at the maintainability of their petition. "Can you demand another human being treat you equally? Does it apply to individuals? Can you invoke equality from another citizen? We understand the state can't... The state shall not deny right to equality. Is the church or mosque a state? If someone doesn't want your entry into their house, can you ask the police?" the top court asked.
It may be remembered that in the case of the Sabarimal temple, the court considered it as a public place or a state as it defines.
In the petition, the couple Yasmeej Zuber Ahmad Peerzade and Zuber Ahmed Peerzade said they were inspired by the top court's verdict that allowed women below 50 years to enter the Sabarimala temple. The couple also opposed gender segregation at mosques.
According to the petition, not allowing women from entering mosques is illegal, unconstitutional and "violative of Articles 14, 15, 21, 25 and 29 of the Constitution".
It also cited records to claim that neither Prophet Muhammad nor the Holy Quran bars women from accessing mosques and offering prayer. "The Quran does not differentiate between man and woman. It speaks only about the faithful. But Islam has instead become a religion in which women are being oppressed," the petition claimed.