The Supreme Court today issued notice to the Central government and the All India Muslim Personal Law Board in the petition seeking the entry of Muslim women into mosques.
Th Bench of Justices SA Bobde and S Abdul Nazeer observed that the petitioner is invoking Article 14 for equality of treatment from individuals managing the mosques, who are non-state actors.
The Bench asked the counsel for the petitioner whether this Article can be invoked against individuals.
“You don’t want somebody to enter your house, can that person call for police help and enter your house?”, the Court reasoned.
Justice Bobde, while issuing notice, stated that the only reason the Court will hear this matter is owing to the judgment in the Sabarimala case.
The petition has been filed by a Muslim couple seeking a declaration that the prohibition on entry of Muslim women into mosques in India is illegal and unconstitutional for being violative of Articles 14, 15, 21, 25 and 29 of the Constitution.
The petitioners further submit that there are no records stating that the Holy Quran and Prophet Muhammad had opposed women entering mosques and offering prayers. Like men, women also have the constitutional rights to offer worship 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 mosques under the predominant Sunni faction, the petition notes.
Even in the mosques where women are allowed, there are separate entrances and enclosures for worship for men and women.
Regarding the right to religion under Article 25, the petition states that it is not absolute, but subject to public order, morality and health.
The petitioners have argued that the Legislature has failed to ensure the basic dignity and equality of women in general and Muslim women in particular when it concerns matters related to their entry into mosques and wearing burqa.
The petitioners have also placed reliance on the Sabarimala judgment.