New Delhi: On the plea of a Muslim couple from Pune, Yasmeen and Zuber Ahmed, the apex court on Tuesday gave its nod to the petition seeking entry of women in mosques.
Taking Sabarimala’s verdict as the background, the Supreme Court said, “We are hearing you just because of Sabarimala judgment”. The apex court, few months back, allowed entry of women of all age groups into the Sabarimala temple of Kerala.
The hearing was benched by Justice S A Bobde and S Abdul Nazeer. They also issued notice to All India Muslim Personal Law Board and (AIMPLB) and National Commission for Women (NCW) in quest of their answer whether women could be authorized to enter mosque.
However, the court was hesitant to give a green signal to the petition filed by the couple which was a threat to women’s fundamental right to equality being violated by denying them entry into the mosque.
The court on this asked, “Can you demand fundamental rights against other human being? Does it apply to an individual? You can invoke it against state but can it be invoked against ‘non-state actors’ like mosque. You are reading Article 14 (equality before law) that we have not read. Where is the state involved in it?"
However, the court agreed for the hearing of the case taking Sabarimala’s verdict as a background. Last year on September 28, a five-judge constitution bench headed by then chief justice Dipak Misra, had paved the way for entry of women of all ages into the Sabarimala temple in Kerala. It had said that the ban amounted to gender discrimination.
The petition said, “Like men, women also have the constitutional rights to offer prayers according to their belief. At present, women are allowed to offer prayers at mosques under Jamaat-e-Islami and Mujahid denominations, while they are barred from entering mosques under the predominant Sunni faction. It is submitted that even in 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.”
It also said that there is no such gender discrimination to offer worship in Mecca, the holiest shrine for Muslims.