The Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to hear a petition seeking permission for Muslim women to offer prayers in mosques, Bar & Bench reported. The court said it allowed the plea because of its earlier verdict allowing women into the Sabarimala temple in Kerala.
A bench headed by Justice SA Bobde issued a notice to the Centre based on a plea submitted by a couple in Pune who described the practice disallowing Muslim women into mosques as “illegal and unconstitutional”, PTI reported. The court asked the Centre to reply to the plea which cited the Constitution to claim that there should not be any discrimination against any citizen of the country on the ground of religion, race, caste, sex and place of birth.
“We are hearing you only because of Sabarimala judgment,” the court said. The petitioners told the court that they were stopped from entering a mosque in India when the bench asked them about it.
The petitioner’s counsel said that mosques in India were benefits from state provisions and told the court that Muslim women were allowed to enter a mosque in the sacred city of Mecca as well as in Canada. “Can you invoke Article 14 of the Constitution and claim equal treatment from another human being,” the court asked.
On September 28, 2018, the court announced that women of all ages would be allowed to enter the Sabarimala temple, overturning the centuries-old tradition that prohibited women in the age group of 10-50 from offering prayers there.
In October 2018, a Muslim women’s group had announced its decision to move the Supreme Court to demand the right to worship and lead prayers in mosques. Though Islamic law does not bar women from praying in mosques, Kerala’s more traditionalist Sunni Muslims keep women out of their places of worship.