A Muslim couple filed a plea in the Supreme Court on Monday asking it to declare prohibitions on entry of Muslim women into mosques illegal and unconstitutional. Yasmeej Zuber Ahmad Peerzade and Zuber Ahmed Peerzade, residents of Maharashtra, said that the prohibitions violate Articles 14, 15, 21, 25 and 29 of the Indian Constitution, Bar and Bench reported.

The petition said that there is nothing in the Quran or the Hadith that requires gender segregation, and that Islamic scholars have divergent views on this matter. The petitioners added that there is no evidence that the Prophet Mohammad prohibited women from entering mosques to offer prayers.

“Women are allowed to enter mosques that have a separate space for them, but most mosques in India do not,” the petitioners said. “Socially, Indian women are not encouraged to regularly pray at mosques even if they do have separate enclosures. Most women visiting the Jama Masjid, for instance, would be Muslim tourists in Delhi rather than residents of the capital.”

The petitioners argued that the legislature has failed to ensure equality of Muslim women in particular as far as entry into mosques and wearing the burqa is concerned. They said that equality should be the basis of all personal laws. The petitioners also invoked the Supreme Court’s September 2018 judgement permitted women of menstruating age to enter the Sabarimala temple in Kerala to justify their case.

The plea contended that the top court can issue directions to religious bodies because these organisations receive taxpayers’ money from the government. The plea arraigned the Union government, the Ministry of Minority Affairs, the Central Wakf Council, Maharashtra State Board of Wakfs and All India Muslim Personal Law Board as parties to the case.

The Supreme Court said it will take up the matter on Tuesday.