The Supreme Court bench, headed by Justice SA Bobde, has adjourned the hearing on the plea that calls for the removal of the ban on Muslim women wanting to access mosques.  The petition, which is filed by a Pune-based Muslim couple, has sought a direction from the SC that declares the practice of restricting women from entering mosques “illegal and unconstitutional.”

The SC bench has adjourned the matter for the next 10 days as the concerned parties have requested for four weeks’ time to submit their responses on the plea.  In the earlier hearing, the apex court had sought the response of the centre on the petition on October 25.  The bench, also comprising of SA Nazeer, had also issued notices to parties including parties, which included union ministries of Women and Child Welfare and Law and Justice and Minority Affairs and the National Commission for Women in April.

While accepting to hear the petition earlier this year, SC bench had said that it is hearing the plea only because of its judgement in the Sabarimala case.

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Yasmeen Zuber Ahmad Peerzade and Zuber Ahmad Nazir Ahmad Peerzade is the Pune-based couple who filed the petition. They say that the ban violates the fundamental rights of women guaranteed under the Constitution. Their counsel, Ashutosh Dubey said, “….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 further argues that the Quran and Prophet Muhammad have never been recorded to oppose women entering mosques and offering prayers, and in fact, men and women have equal constitutional rights to worship, according to their beliefs. It also seeks the SC to permit Muslim women to enter through the main door of mosques and have an Islamic right to visual and auditory access to the musalla (main sanctuary) while setting aside any Fatwas raised by Muslim bodies against the freedom.

“There should not be any gender discrimination, and allow Muslim women to pray in all mosques, cutting across denominations. There is no such gender discrimination to offer worship in Mecca, the holy city. The faithful, both men and women, together circle the Kaaba,” the petition said.

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While accepting to hear the petition earlier this year, SC bench had said that it is hearing the plea only because of its judgement in the Sabarimala case. On September 28, 2018, a five-member SC bench in a 4:1 verdict declared that women can enter Sabarimala temple demolishing an age-old ban restricting women of menstruating age from entering the temple.

Yasmeen Zuber Ahmad Peerzade and Zuber Ahmad Nazir Ahmad Peerzade is the Pune-based couple who filed the petition. They say that the ban violates the fundamental rights of women guaranteed under the Constitution.

In July this year, Swamy Dattatreya Sai Swaroop Nath, the Kerala President of Akhila Bharatha Hindu Mahasabha had also filed a similar petition seeking the removal of the ban on Muslim women from entering mosques. However, a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, dismissed the plea saying, “Let a Muslim woman come and challenge it. Then we will consider.” “The denial of entry to Muslim women in Masjid for prayers with men is the denial of justice to them and deprives them of their right to equality which is a disgrace to modern society,” the petitioner said. He had also sought a ban on burqa for Muslim women.

Picture credit: Static.Independent

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