SC defers plea seeking women entry in mosques

New Delhi


Without stating any specific reason, the Supreme Court on Tuesday deferred the hearing on a plea seeking entry of Muslim women in all mosques.

The three-judge Bench, headed by Chief Justice-designate Justice S.A. Bobde, adjourned the matter, saying "different reason", for 10 days. "We are adjourning (the matter) for 10 days for a different reason," said the court.

Justice Bobde is part of the five-judge Bench that is scheduled to deliver judgment in the Ayodhya title dispute case by November 17.

The Bench observed some parties to the matter had sought four weeks to file response to the PIL by Pune-based couple Yasmeen Zuber Ahmad Peerzade and Zuber Ahmad Nazir Ahmad Peerzade.

The PIL said ban on entry of Muslim women in mosques was "unconstitutional" and violative of the fundamental rights to life, equality and gender justice.

In October, the Supreme Court asked the Centre to file a response on the plea, seeking to allow Muslim women in all mosques.

A Bench, comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice S.A. Bobde and Justice S.A. Nazeer, had asked the Union Ministries of Women and Child Welfare, and Law and Justice, and Minority Affairs, and the National Commission for Women to file their responses by November 5.

The petition urged the apex court to declare prohibition on entry of women inside mosques as "illegal and unconstitutional" as it violated the fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution.

The petition also mentioned in mosques where women were allowed, separate entrances and enclosures for worship for men and women. The petition said there should not be any gender discrimination and all Muslim women should be allowed to pray in all mosques, cutting across denominations.

The apex court directed that notices and petition be served on the Maharashtra State Board of Wakf, the Central Wakf Council and the All India Muslim Personal Law Board.

"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)," the plea said, and urged the court "any fatwa" from Muslim bodies stopping women from entering into mosques should be set aside.IANS