To shed the purdah system and to allow women to enter mosques for offering prayers, state president of the Kerala unit of the Akhil Bharatha Hindu Mahasabha filed a plea in Supreme Court, which was rejected on Monday. CJI Ranjan Gogoi rejected the plea asking for a Muslim woman to approach the court for the same. Swamy Dethathreya Sai Swaroop Nath had challenged the dismissal of his plea by Kerala High Court in SC, which was again rejected by the apex court.

In a hot country like ours, Purdah System is a cause of discomfort… Moreover, it gives anti-social elements a chance  to misuse the apparel to conceal oneself and get involved in                       anti-social acts

“Let a Muslim woman challenge it” CJI Ranjan Gogoi said orally. According to The Hindu, the petitioner said he “looks upon Muslim women like none other than his sisters.” “The segregation and discrimination shown against Muslim women by not allowing them to enter and pray in masjids in the main prayer hall along with their male counterparts are against Articles 21 and 14 of the Constitution,” the petition said. Any strict adherence to the preaching and teachings of past centuries was “equivalent to the strict adherence to the size and type of clothes worn during childhood even during adulthood. This amounts to obstinacy,” it added.

On “purdah”, it said the “culture and concept of looking at a woman as a personal belonging has led to the purdah system”. “In a hot country like ours, it is a cause of discomfort… Moreover, it gives anti-social elements a chance to misuse the apparel to conceal oneself and get involved in anti-social acts,” the petition stated.

The segregation and discrimination shown against Muslim women by not allowing them to enter and pray in masjids in the main prayer hall along with their male counterparts are against Articles 21 and 14 of the Constitution

A  Muslim couple in April too approached Supreme Court to allow women’s entry in mosques for prayers. Reacting to this, the Supreme Court had issued a notice to the Centre and All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB). However, the court did add that the ‘right to equality’ that the petitioners have mentioned in their petition isn’t’ entirely convincing. “We are not convinced by your argument. We are only hearing from you because of the Sabarimala judgement. The provision for Right to Equality under the Constitution can only be invoked against the state and not against an individual who is inside a mosque,” the court added.

Though there’s skepticism about the entry of women in mosques in India, there are some mosques in the world that have proven to be extremely progressive. The Women’s Mosque of America focuses on empowering women and girls by providing them with scholarships and leadership opportunities. It also allows them to actively engage with the Muslim Ummah. The Friday prayer in Mariam Mosque is reserved for women only. The organisation FEMINAM was launched in 2015 to advocate the inclusion of women functioning as Imams in Denmark. Later, in 2016, FEMINAM launched the first Mosque with women imams performing Islamic rituals.

Read More: CJI Ranjan Gogoi Clean Chit: Where Are All the Angry Men?

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